Last year, I reported on male privilege and the Super Bowl after the game.
This year, how about a preemptive strike?
Tragically, the Super Bowl is more than the biggest football game in the world. According to many, it’s also the biggest human trafficking event in the world. Last year, commenting on the objectification of women manifest in both trafficking and in those famous commercials, I called the Super Bowl “an annual crescendo in our culture’s habitual exploitation of women.”
This article, which includes one trafficked woman’s story, reports on the reality of Super Bowl trafficking:
Exact numbers are in dispute and hard to quantify, but according to the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking, “The Super Bowl attracts tens of thousands of fans to the host city … But it also attracts a sector of violence, organized criminal activity that operates in plain sight without notice including human trafficking in both the sex and labor industries.”
There are several reasons why sex trafficking may increase around a huge event such as this. As hundreds of thousands of people (mainly men) flock to the New York City metro area for the week’s festivities, the primary motivator for increased prostitution is increased demand for it. According to Dorchen Leidholdt, adjunct professor at Columbia University who teaches about violence against women, “The demand for prostitution will drive trafficking. … It’s supply and demand.” According to documentary filmmaker Jane Wells, who produced a film on the topic, “There is corporate entertaining, parties, alcohol, corporate-sponsored parties, people away from their families, anonymity. It’s kind of like a perfect storm.”
This year could be worse. CBS reported, “Many believe the state’s sprawling highway system, proximity to New York City and diverse population make it an attractive base of operations for traffickers.”
So, what to do about this perfect, tragic storm?
How about we pray?!?
The organization I work for, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, is all about developing world changers. And alum Francis Socorro fits the bill. Francis went to our New York Urban Project in 2010, and she wants to put a stop to trafficking around the Super Bowl. She’s serious about it. Here’s what she and her friends are doing, from this post here:
“For about a year now, my five friends and I have weekly prayer meetings via conference call. The Super Bowl was one of the topics we would continuously pray about. The Super Bowl is commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States. Now that the Super Bowl is a week away, and in our backyard, we have to do something about it. Numerous organizations are doing awesome things like approaching motels before this year’s Super Bowl and offering them free bars of soap with the National Human Trafficking Hotline phone number. Since we couldn’t help physically, God has laid on my heart to pray for the hotels that surround MetLife stadium.
So I mapped out hotels near MetLife stadium. I assigned each friend a hotel that they will pray for this week. Joanna will pray for Econo Lodge Meadowlands. Kat will pray for Hampton Inn Carlstadt-At the Meadowlands. Michelle will pray for Fairfield Inn East Rutherford. Sandy will pray for Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Meadowlands Area. April will pray for Homewood Suites by Hilton East Rutherford. And I will pray for Renaissance Meadowlands Hotel. We will first research our hotel. Then we will gather information about previous super bowls and how human trafficking was linked to that. As we go about our week, we will keep that hotel in prayer and be open to whatever God wants to share with us. Then this Sundaywhen we gather for our Super Bowl party, we will talk about our week of prayer and intercede for the event. And of course, watch the Super Bowl!
We may not be like IJM rescuing victims on the front lines, but we can stand in the gap and intercede with Jesus for His people. Prayer moves the hand of God.”
Friends, this Super Bowl Sunday, may God’s hand move in concert with our prayers to make this forecasted storm disappear. Lord, change the world!