Adrenaline pumping. Fans screaming. It’s seconds until kickoff. Traffickers have been preparing for weeks in advance, working on their own lineup for game day. The football game of the season has finally arrived. But with it comes hurt, pain, heartache, loneliness, and no chance of escaping. On a Sunday in February, our nation gathers to watch the most anticipated sports event of the year. For most of us, this time is filled with food, commercials, and fellowship, but or thousands of girls nationwide, this weekend brings forth horror.
The Super Bowl is one of the largest single-day sources of sex-industry consumption in our country. As a result of the large male population gathered for the game, a demand for girls heightens. The Super Bowl is a magnet for sex trafficking and child prostitution. Ten thousand estimated sex workers were brought into Miami during the 2010 Super Bowl.
The city of Charlotte, North Carolina is nationally ranked number eight for the highest percentage of trafficked victims in the US. No matter how much we try to hide ourselves from reality, this issue is quickly rising to one of the top international crimes today. America, India and Mexico are the largest contributors for human trafficking. Sadly, America seats itself as the primary consumer engaged in trafficking around the world. Because of the international airport, thousands of women are transported in and out of Atlanta, Georgia within days, some not even having the opportunity to leave the airport before they are transferred to another location. We have been told story after story of successful business men leaving work slightly early to stop by a hotel room for thirty minutes before returning home to their families for dinner that night. Occasionally, an extended “business trip” to Asian countries will ensue. For up to weeks at a time husbands and fathers, doctors and lawyers will prance a foreign country with a different girl on his arm each night, selfishly satisfying his sexual desires. This has become known as “sexual tourism.”
The culture of trafficking in America involves an unthinkable world of lies, leading young girls to believe that a great, prosperous life awaits them. The face of trafficking takes on a sly ambition here in our own backyards. An underground network of brothels in the back of nail salons and prostitution that seems like a chosen life are a few examples of the trafficking here in the US.
Many times American victims come from broken homes where they have been abused and their hunger for love, appreciation, and acceptance makes them extremely vulnerable. Traffickers prey on these girls, aware of their need for affirmation and self worth. They know that these girls are longing to feel special and wanted. Many times pimps will send “scouters” into middle and high schools. These are special players in this monopoly game on a mission to befriend the next victim. They can come in the form of a new girl showing kindness, a flirtatious boy, or even older siblings breaking in the new girls.
This kind of story is common for American children, especially children of the foster care system.
This Sunday, while you enjoy watching the game, don’t forget to pray for the thousands upon thousands of sex-slaves that are not watching the game with you. Pray for their freedom and release from the bondage of darkness.
Consider how you might make your Super Bowl experience missional: possibly print out this prayer card, share what you’ve learned with your party, and take a few minutes to pray during half-time.