(LibertySociety.com) – More than 24 million people have been the victims of human trafficking worldwide. This crime is an issue on every continent, but a massive sporting event has focused the radar on the US.
On Sunday, February 7, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs will compete in Super Bowl LV. While the two teams are battling it out for the NFL title, the police in Hillsborough County, Florida will continue their own fight. This one is far more important than football: It’s a war against human trafficking.
The multi-billion dollar industry is in the spotlight again.
Largest Human Trafficking Event of the Year
The Super Bowl is often referred to as the largest human trafficking event of the year because so many people from different places descend on a city to attend the game. These people often pay thousands of dollars for tickets and spend as much again when they party in the days leading up to the event. When money like that pours into a city, so do predators looking to get a piece of the pie.
Human traffickers use the event to sell their victims directly to people who want to pay for sex, force them to work in adult clubs or engage in other risky behaviors. This year, the Super Bowl is taking place in Tampa, a city with a dark underbelly, in a state that is known as one of the worst sex trafficking. According to the Human Trafficking Hotline, 896 trafficking cases were reported in Florida in 2019.
Law Enforcement Takes Action
Tampa is well-known for its vast array of adult clubs, making it a particularly inviting place for traffickers. That’s why the Tampa Police Department and code enforcement spent the week leading up to the Super Bowl visiting adult clubs to ensure the businesses were complying with the human trafficking ordinance in the city.
The police found two of the businesses they visited were in violation of the ordinance, and officers issued citations. Hillsborough Commissioner Kimberly Overman told the Tampa Bay Times that although law enforcement is paying close attention to the issue because of the Super Bowl, “it happens year-round.”
If you or someone you know has been the victim of human trafficking, call 1(888) 373-7888 or text “HELP” to 233733.
Copyright 2021, LibertySociety.com