Eight men have already been arrested as part of a sex trafficking ring exposed today in New Orleans. This case supports advocacy agencies’ claims that the Super Bowl is the “single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” When you combine beer, testosterone, and cold hard cash with hundreds of thousands of people in a major metropolitan area, you know sex trafficking is going to become a reality for a number of women and men on the ground, but the question is, what’s being done to fix it? In January 2011, Christian advocacy organizations united to expose trafficking occurring in the shadows of the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium, and Texas attorney general Greg Abbott “beefed up a [police] unit that was assigned to investigate and arrest those who trade in child prostitutes.” As a result, there were a routine 113 arrests for prostitution at the 2011 Super Bowl—but none for trafficking.
In the past, attempted crackdowns by law enforcement have misfired by treating prostitutes as criminals to be locked up rather than victims to be rescued. According to Nevada District Judge William Voy, providing former prostitutes and sexually exploited girls with restoration services is crucial—he’s seen more than his fair share of girls appearing before him shackled at the hands and feet, “as though they were criminals instead of victims:”