By Ian Frisch
February 3, 2016
The image of busloads of trafficked sex workers arriving in the Super Bowl host city to service scores of game-goers is firmly planted in the public imagination. Before the 2011 Super Bowl, held in Dallas, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot told USA Today that the Super Bowl is “commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.”
The week leading up to the Super Bowl does in fact show a distinct uptick in online advertisements for sex workers on websites such as Backpage and Craigslist. Despite the Super Bowl being the poster event for sex trafficking awareness—press conferences by law enforcement on how to identify and combat trafficking abound in the weeks leading up to the event—there is much uncertainty, myth and inflation of fact regarding the transportation and solicitation of sex trafficking victims during the big game.
Some organizations, such as Safe Horizon, say that an increase in sex trafficking at the Super Bowl does not exist. “There is very limited factual evidence that links [sex trafficking and the Super Bowl]. At Safe Horizon, we are of the mindset that this is not happening, ” said Brian Pacheco, director of public relations at Safe Horizon.