Is the Super Bowl responsible for encouraging child slavery and prostitution? Some believe the Super Bowl is particularly effective for drawing pimps and prostitutes to its mass gathering of maleness. So, hats off to a group of Southwestern Seminary students who have started “Lose the Chains,” an advocacy group to (once again) fight against slavery in America. This time, of course, the slavery is sexual slavery (the kind that a Planned Parenthood employee was willing to facilitate in New Jersey). Lose the Chains became especially active leading up to the Super Bowl because of the claim that this super sporting event is a particularly lucrative lure for the pimps who “own” these girls.
Other media outlets doubt the veracity of the claims that the Super Bowl causes a spike in sex trafficking. As the Legalblogwatch points out officials in Tampa (2009) and Phoenix (2008) have stated that they saw no increase in sex trafficking while their towns hosted the Super Bowl. Nevertheless, this same post points out a couple of notable factoids. First, Legalblogwatch states that the media who are writing articles skeptical of the presence of sex trafficking have themselves been investigated for it. Apparently, there was an incident in which a website owned by Village Voice Media Group (the media outlet behind skeptical reports) was accused of running an ad in which a 13 year-old was sold into sexual slavery. Second, the writer at Legalblogwatch does not mention Miami—the host city from the 2010 Super Bowl. According to this report from Time, officials in Miami reported as many as 10,000 additional prostitutes were brought into the city during Super Bowl week.
In addition, the skeptical writer cross-checked the arrests records for the World Cup and found there were “just 5 arrests for forced prostitution.” I wonder, is that an argument for or against the point that super sporting events encourage sex trafficking? Is the fact that there were “just 5 arrests for forced prostitution” at a major sporting event a good reason to stop fighting sex trafficking? What exactly is our comfort level with regard to enslaving teenagers in prostitution? For my part, I’d say even “just 5 arrests” is too many. Five cases of sexual slavery is five too many, but we all understand that these five arrests say nothing about how many traffickers there actually were. How many got away without being arrested?
The Time Magazine blog offers a more balanced look at the figures and reports that Christian groups staged a preemptive strike against sex trafficking in the Dallas-Fort Worth area leading up to this Super Bowl. Thank God for Christians working as salt and light in the world to be a witness to what is good.
Good work has also been done in Cincinnati and, now, in Atlanta. Sadly, Atlanta is proving to be a hub for human trafficking and, especially, for child prostitution. What this means, of course, is that the Super Bowl is not the problem; it is only the opportunity. The problem is sin in the heart of those who would enslave needy children for sex and for profit. The problem is in the heart of those whose lust would lead them to use and abuse girls and boys. The perverts, the pimps, the pornographers, and the Planned Parenthood-types who prop them up are the problem. The Super Bowl is not the problem. Sin in the heart of men is the problem.
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what devil a person…” Jesus in Matthew 15:19-20.