Between the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a four-day entertainment lineup and a halftime performance by Beyoncé Knowles, New Orleans is gearing up to put on a world-class show for Super Bowl XLVII.
But out from under the lights, the Super Bowl is considered the largest annual sex trafficking event in the United States. Its predominantly male crowds, influx of money and party atmosphere converge to drive supply and demand for women.
In anticipation of this Super Bowl reality, local law enforcement is taking preventative measures. This year, Louisiana upped its state trafficking law to criminalize the promotion or sale of travel for commercial sex and sharpened its penalties for traffickers where minors are involved.
Citizens are also getting involved. In October, Loyola University New Orleans hosted a prevention conference in partnership with over 25 organizations to equip citizens to responsibly identify and report incidents of human trafficking.
With the combined efforts of concerned citizens and local law enforcement, perhaps “The City That Care Forgot” will set an example for future Super Bowl hosts by demonstrating what it really means to care.
Sex Trafficking in the U.S.
Annual profits, in billions, of sex trafficking in the U.S.
Average age at which girls enter forced prostitution in the U.S.
Estimated number of sex workers at previous Super Bowl games.
* Sourced from the United Nations, the United States Department of Justice and Reuters.com.