Protect Children During Super Bowl!

Earlier this year we blogged about the darkest side of the Super Bowl: in recent years it (and other major sports events) has been invaded by human traffickers. They're attracted by the large profits to be made in peddling prostitutes, including girls as young as 13, in the shadows of the nation's most high-profile sporting event.

Super Bowl Child traffickingAt last year's game in Dallas, police made more than 130 human trafficking-related arrests. In Miami the year before, child advocates identified at least 16 underage prostitutes who traffickers brought into the city ahead of the game. One trafficker, for example, was arrested and convicted after he flew in a 17-year-old girl from Hawaii and sold her out of a Miami Beach hotel.

More from the Indy Star

To help fight trafficking at Indy's Super Bowl in February, state Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport IN, has introduced legislation that would strengthen the punishment for selling a teenager or child for sex acts. The bill also would make it a crime for a person to set up sex between an adult and a minor, regardless of whether money is exchanged or the child supposedly gives consent.

"We must be realistic and candid about the fact that organized criminals who exploit young women and children through human trafficking have gravitated to such gatherings in other cities,'' Head said Friday at a news conference in the Statehouse.

Gov. Mitch Daniels and Attorney General Greg Zoeller already have voiced support for Head's proposal. Zoeller, however, noted that it would take "an extraordinary effort" for the General Assembly to pass the legislation before the Super Bowl is played on Feb. 5.

That effort very much would be worth it.

Many businesses will reap huge profits because of the game's presence in Indianapolis, and rightly so. State and local governments likely will take in millions of extra tax dollars. But sadly — outrageously — the money-making doesn't stop there. It's incumbent on state and local authorities to act with all diligence to protect children and teens from sexual exploitation and to cut off traffickers from their profits.

Comments

  1. Shocking! I may lose interest in pro-football after this.

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