Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Results are In: Sex Trafficking at the Superbowl

by Amanda Kloer

categories: Child Prostitution, Pimping

Published February 17, 2010 @ 04:00PM PT

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the incredible outreach efforts which took place in Miami to find child trafficking victims who were brought in and sold for sex during the Superbowl. This week, I checked in with Brad Dennis, Director of Search Operations for the KlaasKids Foundation, to see what the outreach team he was leading found. And the results are in! So far, their efforts have led to at least one arrest of a Hawaiian man who was importing kids to be sold in prostitution during the Superbowl. But more importantly, they may have prevented more children from being recruited by pimps.

The over 160 outreach workers who participated in the effort came away with little doubt that children were being sold for sex during the Superbowl. Throughout the four days of outreach, 23 direct contacts were made with potential commercial sexual exploitation victims. Local law enforcement personnel commented about the increase in numbers of potential victims, more than would usually be found in Miami at that time. There was also a significant increase in online advertisements such as and With all signs pointing to sex trafficking of children, the outreach team were able to find and pass on nine leads on potential child trafficking situations to law enforcement, for follow-up after the big game.

The greatest successes of the outreach, however, were the direct interventions and increased awareness of the issue. Six missing children were recovered during the outreach sweeps. Workers also directly intervened in four potentially dangerous situations, removing five girls from potential recruitment or exploitation by pimps. The other success story was the increase in awareness of child sex trafficking for local groups, law enforcement, faith-based organizations and through the media. If Miami during the Superbowl seemed like fruitful hunting ground for pimps looking to sell children into prostitution, they soon found out they were very wrong.

So sex trafficking of children does exist around the Superbowl, and local police commented that it seemed to be more prolific than usual during the big game. But without similar outreach efforts in Miami at other times, it's hard to state definitively that child sex trafficking increases around major sporting events like the Superbowl. The experience of KlaasKids Foundation and the outreach team in Miami certainly indicates a need for more research in this area.

If your home town is hosting a major sporting event and you're concerned that child sex trafficking might be coming into town with all the fans and vendors, there is something you can do. According to Brad Dennis, first become aware of the issue. Second, partner with organizations willing to train and deploy volunteers in an effort to educate and intervene on behalf of child sex trafficking victims. You can help prevent children from being exploited around major sporting events and help the anti-trafficking world better understand this phenomenon.

Thanks to Brad Dennis, KlaasKids Foundation, and the rest of the outreach team for all their hard work in Miami.