What’s the Connection Between the Super Bowl and Human Trafficking?

This year, Super Bowl LVI will be hosted in Los Angeles as the Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals. As supporters of fair trade, we care deeply about how people are treated. We’ve all likely heard that the week of the Super Bowl is one of the largest sex trafficking weeks of the year. And the city council of Los Angeles has been ramping up their efforts to combat trafficking as the Super Bowl draws closer. But is there really a connection between the Super Bowl and sex trafficking?

In reality, there’s actually no definitive data that points to a significant increase in sex trafficking during the Super Bowl event in its host area, according to anti-slavery nonprofit IJM. Polaris, the organization that runs the National Human Trafficking Hotline, stated, “There is little data to suggest a significant increase in sex trafficking the night of the Super Bowl. The National Human Trafficking Hotline has not experienced a measurable increase in phone calls over Super Bowl weekend over what is already received on a daily basis, and any small upticks in calls can be more likely attributed to the greater awareness about human trafficking around the game.”

Even though there may not be a huge swing in sex trafficking around the Super Bowl, we should still be aware of human trafficking efforts. Trafficking involves both sex and labor trafficking, and focusing only on sex trafficking can have adverse effects on awareness and rescue campaigns. “Human trafficking isn’t just a problem the night of the Super Bowl, it’s a problem 365 days a year,” shared Polaris.

So how do we work to combat these issues without falling into the trap of thinking about sex and labor trafficking only once per year? Dressember, a grassroots movement encouraging citizens to fight human trafficking, offers these four tips:

  • Take time to educate yourself about the problem of human trafficking and talk with your social circle to help others learn too.
  • Know where to get help! The National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1-888-373-7888, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Add this number to your phone so it’s there if you need it. 
  • Write your local, state and federal elected officials to let them know you care about combating human trafficking and ask what they are doing to address it.
  • Be an advocate for human trafficking survivors and donate to organizations that help survivors rebuild their lives.

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