Every year around the Super Bowl, articles about the rise and fight against human trafficking start flying through my newsfeed. Past articles have emphasized how the sex trafficking industry explodes in areas around large sporting events like the Super Bowl. It’s been said that large amounts of tourism and solo attendance of men to these events creates this boom in demand for sexual transactions.
My heart and so many others breaks over this thought. That’s why hundreds if not thousands of campaigns, posts, and stories about ending human trafficking are highlighted this time of year. The city hosting the Super Bowl cracks down on security, puts extra time and resources into sting operations, and works to raise awareness on how to spot a trafficking incident throughout the city.
This year (2019), there’s a new narrative. I’ve seen dozens of stories throughout my newsfeed unpacking the “Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Myth.” Studies are showing there is actually no perceivable rise in trafficking around the Super Bowl or any other major sporting events.
Bear with me, but my first question upon seeing these new headlines was: why does it matter?
The main criticism for this newfound information comes from the surge in money and attention surrounding a big event at the expense of efforts throughout the rest of the year. The human trafficking and the porn industry are actually growing year-round. While the Super Bowl takes the spotlight, authorities told Sports Illustrated, “If we had the resources all the time we could make a very significant dent in this problem.”
I’m all about digging for the truth and not taking headlines at face value, so if studies are showing that there’s not a significant rise in trafficking numbers around the Super Bowl weekend, I want to know that. I have some sense of relief that there is more action being taken this weekend and that these reports say the Big Game isn’t quite as dismal as we all believed.
But regardless of whether or not there’s a “boom” over the next few days, the problem, the need to be aware, and the time take action surrounding human trafficking remains.
All this reporting has served as a well-needed wake up call for me. Here’s what I’m working to continue or incorporate into my life this week and beyond. Will you join me?
1. Pray anyways.
Truly, actually set aside intentional time (even 2 minutes) to pray for people in danger because of trafficking this weekend (and any time). Even if numbers aren’t particularly on the rise this weekend, these troubled human souls still exists and we still need God to intervene in the heart, mind, and circumstances of each individual life!
2. Get involved.
Giving to an organization like End It Movement, researching local ministries you can volunteer and pray for, and posting about the fight to end human trafficking are all great ideas. The Priceless Movement website is an incredible resource for finding this kind of information. Whether you want to give, volunteer, or find help for yourself or a loved one, it’s all on pricelessmovement.com.
If a big sporting event can be a catalyst to remind and inspire you to join the fight, that’s a great thing!
3. Celebrate God’s design for sexuality.
This idea may seem out of left field when it comes to an issue like human trafficking, but I assure you it’s at the very core.
Don’t be afraid to talk about sex to the young men and women you have in your sphere of influence. They need positive, honest, and relatable voices to be a safe place to ask questions about what is right and what is wrong. Let’s not treat the subject of sex, relationships, and God’s beautiful design as a taboo subject. Our culture is sending a lot of messages about sexuality that disregard love and respect, many of which are only feeding industries like pornography and sex trafficking.
Without being armed with knowledge, how will the younger generation be empowered to stand up for the vulnerable, to celebrate what is right, and to be equipped to make wise decisions about their own sexuality?
I know the conversation about human trafficking is only trending right now because of the Super Bowl. And it’s true – the initial belief that sex trafficking explodes around big events may or may not be true. But I’m really ok with it. I’m glad we’re at least talking about it.
Let’s take this chance to pray and start a conversation about what sex really means and how healing can really happen – for you, for me, and for the girl who is being sold tonight.
Life is messy. God is the one big enough to heal it all. I promise.
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