Sex trafficking and the Super Bowl

Elika Roohi/Sun Star Editor-in-Chief
February 5, 2013

This past Sunday, millions of people hung out eating nachos and watching the Super Bowl.  At the same time, thousands of women were paraded around the United States by sex-traffickers.

Super Bowl Sunday is known as the largest human trafficking incident in the United States.  Around 10,000 prostitutes were brought to Miami for the Super Bowl in 2010, according to Forbes.  Girls as young as 12 are thrust cruelly into adulthood every year during this weekend to make Super Bowl Sunday that much more of a party.

Clemmie Greenlee was expected to have sex with anywhere from 25 to 5o men a day, said Times-Picayune.  “If you don’t make that number (of sex customers), you’re going to dearly, dearly, severely pay for it,” Greenlee said.  “I mean with beatings, I mean with over and over rapings.  With just straight torture.”

Two years ago, men were arrested for looking for 14-year-old prostitutes on Craigslist, and this year isn’t looking to be any different.  By Friday, Feb. 3, eight human-trafficking related arrests had been made in New Orleans, said the Huffington Post.

It’s not really fair to pick on the Super Bowl exclusively.  It’s easy to make a case about it, since the prostitution rings surrounding the event can be grossly flagrant, but many large sporting events attract sex trafficking.  In fact, small sporting events attract sex trafficking as well.  Actually, even when there’s nothing going on, sex trafficking can be found.  The free world has an ugly underbelly that isn’t, well, quite so free.

The world still has a lot of slavery in it.  SlaveryFootprint.org is a website that lets users take a survey to determine how many slaves work for you.  “But they’re reputable brands!  If they were running sweatshops, Oprah would be all over it,” their FAQ page reads, predicting your shocked response.  It’s not necessarily the brand, said SlaveryFootprint.org, a lot of it is in the supply chain.

The survey asks users where they’re from, what cell phone they own, what food they eat and an assortment of other questions to determine roughly how many slaves work for you.  It’s fairly comprehensive and I imagine soberingly accurate.  I’ve sent the survey around to friends and family to see just how everyone I know stacks up, and the results range from the high 20’s to the low 40’s.  When I took it, SlaveryFootprint.org informed me that 38 slaves worked for me.  The culprit for my high number?  Cotton underwear.

That’s something I never would have expected.  One of the best ways to put a stop to human trafficking is to be informed about it.  The UAF club Nanook Trafficking Jam seeks to inform students about human trafficking and holds fundraisers to donate money to efforts to stop it.  The club meets in the Honors House every Sunday night and more information can be found on their facebook page.

It’s tough to get numbers on human trafficking, since it’s an under-reported crime.  But in 2011, the FBI said that New Orleans was in a prime location for transport of slaves, strategically between Texas and Mississippi.  Not much news has come out yet about the sex trafficking at this year’s Super Bowl, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t women being traded for their bodies during the beer commercials.

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