As football playoff season winds down and we prepare for the Super Bowl, you may have heard that the Big Game is the largest sex trafficking event of the year in the U.S. But is that really true? We want to take a moment to share some truths and give you some ways to give back and get involved. After all, we are based out of this year’s host city, Minneapolis!
The truth: sex trafficking is a year-round problem
A recent study done by the University of Minnesota found that while the Super Bowl does temporarily increase the number of online ads for commercial sex, the increase is not disproportionate to the increase during other large events (think trade shows, other sporting events, political conventions, etc). Sex Trafficking is a daily reality in almost every city in the country.
What is MN doing to prepare?
Minnesota’s 2018 Super Bowl Anti-Sex Trafficking Committee is a partnership of more than 40 anti-sex trafficking organizations, including advocates, survivor service providers, law enforcement agencies, businesses, cities, counties and individual survivors. The Women’s Foundation of MN, Hennepin County and Ramsey County co-chair the committee, which has crafted a plan to expand statewide response infrastructure to effectively prevent and respond to sex trafficking occurring around the time of the event.
Media coverage of sex trafficking increases around major events
But we can’t forget--this is happening 365 days a year. The good news about the additional media coverage is that the committee is able to get more information out to the public. Their goals are to use the added attention to offer enhanced services (additional shelter beds and expanded drop-in center services and staffing), increase law enforcement staffing, train hospitality workers in identifying the signs of sex trafficking, and educating the public.
What can you do to help?
- Train yourself to recognize the signs of sex trafficking, here.
- Sponsor a classroom or online training for employees to shift attitudes and end the demand for commercial sex. Men as Peacemakers have created The Don’t Buy It Project to help you get started.
- Take these action steps to end the demand by reducing gender inequality and questioning gender norms.
- MNgirls.org is chalk-full of information on what you can do to help.
- Donations are also needed. Mayo Clinic and The Link have teamed up to create the Rise Up Gift Registry, where you can donate personal necessities to survivors.
- Make a donation to Breaking Free, the only service-provider open 24 hours leading up to the game.
- Purchase a MY SISTER “I Don’t Buy It” Tee. 10% of the proceeds will go to Men as Peacemakers.
We thank you for your interest and support, and we remain committed to putting an end to sex trafficking 365-days a year!