Officials in Minnesota are already working to crack down on potential sex trafficking in 2018 when Super Bowl LII will be contested at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Twin Cities area has already been experiencing an influx of sex trafficking during big events in recent years, Kevin Giles of the Minnesota Star Tribune reports.
Local law enforcement is expecting “hundreds of women and girls” to be sold during Super Bowl week, per the report, “mostly at huge organized parties and through provocative online ads and social media connections.”
“There’s no doubt that when you have an increased amount of individuals congregating, and when alcohol is involved, that you are going to have an increase in crime committed. It’s naive to assume it wouldn’t be,” said Imran Ali, Washington County’s major crimes prosecutor.
Giles reports a task force is already in place to investigate the harrowing reality of this exploding market. One of the big concerns is the fact that traffickers are transporting the women and girls from city to city for big, “lucrative venues” like the Super Bowl.
The Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General in California recently released a report in which it stated:
“Human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise and is an estimated $32 billion-a-year global industry. It is a form of modern day slavery that profits from the exploitation of our most vulnerable populations.”
Ali specifies which people are being targeted: “They’re targeting those that are mentally ill, are chemically dependent,” he said.
The task force has found “34,593 online solicitations from January to June for sex in the metro area on backpage.com, the leading internet sex marketplace.”
One of the troublesome aspect of Giles’ report is this, via Kate Mogulescu, supervising attorney for the Exploitation Intervention Project at the Legal Aid Society in New York City:
“Publicity regarding the alleged increase in trafficking around these events does nothing to deter exploitation, and focuses law enforcement resources in precisely the wrong way, she says.
Even more troubling is the fact that the FBI has identified Minneapolis as the second-ranked city, behind only Los Angeles, as it concerns children being used for sex trafficking, per Giles.
This is a virulent problem that is proving difficult to contain and eradicate. Credit goes to the Twin Cities region for aggressively seeking to make a difference.