Super Bowl trafficking

A high demand for children and women for the sex trade persists in a global market that thrives on exploiting them. This demand increases around huge social and sporting events.

During Super Bowl weekend in Dallas, the demand for trafficking children might have been supplied but not without a fight.

According to the 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report, 12.3 million adults and children are in forced labor, bonded labor and forced prostitution worldwide. As far as justice goes, there were 4,166 successful trafficking prosecutions in 2009.

Various organizations geared up this weekend to rescue victims of sex trafficking in Dallas and to raise awareness about this global issue.

Traffick 911 fought child sexual slavery with its campaign, “I’m not buying it.” They developed street teams to locate and rescue victims of human trafficking.

According to the Traffick 911 website, the group wants the world to know North Texas is not OK with the buying and selling of American children.

Photo illustration by Evan Duncan

It hosted a tailgate party at the Aristide Event and Conference Center Saturday, Feb. 5. Many speakers, such as Dallas Cowboy and three-time pro-bowler Jay Ratiff and U.S. Congresswoman Kay Granger of the 12th district, attended the event.

Coordinator of publications and social media at Waco’s Texas State Technical College Sarah-Jane (Sanders) Menefee supports Traffick 911. Menefee is a UMHB alumna and former editor of The Bells newspaper.

Since she was unable to participate in the street teams, Menefee stood behind the outreach by seeking God’s favor.

“We are following Traffick 911’s prayer guide which has daily scriptures and prayer requests. Our plan is to fast the full day of the Super Bowl in hopes that the Holy Spirit will move in awesome ways through the anti-trafficking outreaches,” she said.

Menefee and her husband, Matt, did not participate in game day festivities.

“We’re not attending parties or even watching the game. How can we celebrate when so many women and children are in slavery?” she said.

Other organizations combating child sex slavery are aware of the influx of prostitution rings that appear around the Super Bowl and have listed information on their websites about the issue.

Stop Child Sex Trafficking Now actively works to bring down the sellers of this trade.

According to its website, its partners are trained and capable of bringing down predators and providing justice for victimized children all over the world.

Like Traffick 911, Love 146 is an outreach that also runs rescue missions. According to the website, the group aims to fight child sex slavery and exploitation with the unforeseen and restore survivors.

The organization hopes to create international round homes, housing for recovered women.

Amanda Brown, director of the  5K run sponsored by Austin Love 146, explained what the organization is trying to achieve through the round homes.

“They are trying to make it domestic,” she said.

Additionally, recognizing sex trafficking can be a challenge. But knowing the right signs may lead to someone regaining his or her life back

According to the U.S. Department of Education, unexplained absences from school for a period of time, regular runs away from home, references to frequent travel to other cities, bruises or other physical trauma and withdrawn behavior are just a few of the signs.

A full list of indications that a person is being sex-trafficked is available at the U.S. Department of Education.

While awareness about sex trafficking rises, organizations battling the crime grow in allegiance.

Menefee said, “Now that we’re connected to Traffick 911 and know that it is so close to us, we hope to be more involved in building awareness and work to end the buying and selling of women and children into slavery.”

Author: Chelesea Carter

Chelesea Carter is a senior English major minoring in writing at UMHB. She is an assistant page editor for The Bells newspaper. Though she came from the small town of Caldwell, Texas, she spent most of her teenage years in Aggieland. Chelesea enjoys baking delicious goodies, reading novels and discovering new things about others. Writing about social issues allows Chelesea to share her compassion for helping others. Her life-long goal is to improve the desolate state of the world.

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