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February 6, 2013

You Get The Picture: Advocate rather than spectate

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Pop singer Beyoncé put on a bootylicious show on Super Bowl Sunday, featuring copious bare legs and racy dance moves while thousands of prostitutes were being sold out for more than just sport.  According to a Texan Attorney General in 2011, the Super Bowl is the single largest human trafficking incident in the U.S.

Over 72,000 Super Bowl XLVII fans underwent TSA pat-downs and X-ray scans at the Superdome in Louisiana.  K9 unit drug and bomb-sniffing dogs snuffled adults and children while government forces have pre-gamed for safety at New Orleans hotels, restaurants, and bars surveilling for any possible danger ridden activity days before the event.  But one question comes to mind with all of this surveillance and precautionary activity, how can you eavesdrop, sniff, or metal detect for prostitutes or victims of human trafficking?  Because they most likely appeared just as harmless as the half-time entertainment and then disappeared unnoticed.

In 2010, Forbes stated that 10,000 prostitutes were brought to Miami for the Super Bowl and a year later in Dallas, 133 underage prostitution arrests were made.  The Times-Picayune reported that Clemmie Greenlee, a former sex trafficking victim, is now an advocate for victims in Louisiana.  She stated she was expected to sleep with up to a 50 men a day, and if she didn’t meet her quota, she would be severely punished for it.

How is it that in a sea of 72,000 spectators, a fraction of them couldn’t spot a victim of prostitution, especially if they are underage?  It may be that because today, in our modern society, skimpy clothing and the public display of sexual affection is just about the ‘norm’.  I mean, I could turn the television on this very moment and catch sight of some racy scene exhibiting some sort of sexual behavior.  It’s definitely not uncommon to catch local high schoolers coupled up in the hallways and in dark corners making out heavily. But that’s just dismissed as a part of growing up, right?

Perhaps the issue of sex trafficking lies within our culture, not our security measures.  As Americans, we are naive to think that sex trafficking hasn’t crossed our borders yet, and assume it’s only women and children overseas who are being forced into the trade.  But the issue is closer to home than you think.  The average age of entry into street prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old, even girls as young as nine years old.  

To become more than a spectator for sport, open your eyes and become an advocate for the women and children of America who go undetected, unnoticed and live in fear.  Visit www.youth-spark.org.

mmccrarey@sentinel-echo.com

 

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