The Super Bowl. It’s more than just a football game – it’s a cultural phenomenon, a day etched in the American calendar. From epic plays to unforgettable halftime shows, it’s a time for families and friends to gather, share good food, and revel in the spirit of competition. This year, let’s add another vital element to the mix: awareness and action against human trafficking.  This conversation is not a new one. Since as early as 2010, with the addition to U.S. calendars of National Trafficking Awareness Month in January, the media has been reporting on the crisis of increased, “for purchase sex,” surrounding the Super Bowl and other large sporting events.   Some news outlets even claim to “debunk” the rumors that trafficking numbers increase at all within the host city, in the days and nights around Super Bowl Sunday. 

But the truth is that wherever there is an influx of people and power and money into any given location, there will also be an influx of human trafficking. This is not the fault of the Super Bowl but rather simple math. “The same people who would be seeking “for purchase sex,” in other cities flood into the host city of the event, seeking “for purchase sex,” in it as well.  Where there is a demand for something, no matter how ugly, there will be an evil seeking to profit by supplying it!” simply stated by Radiate Coalition’s Chief Visionary Officer, Bevin Caramello.  

It is estimated by the U.S. Department of State that there are almost 28 million victims of human trafficking currently in the world today, literally trapped in this modern-day slavery; most of them women and children. The statistics are daunting and hard to even get our minds around. But 28 million is enough to fill every seat in Allegiant Stadium, this year’s Super Bowl venue in Las Vegas, every single day, for over a year.  

While we excitedly prep our wings and jerseys, it’s crucial to remember that the Super Bowl’s grandeur can cast a shadow on this dark reality. This mega-event, like other large gatherings, attracts not just passionate fans but also criminals seeking to exploit the vulnerable. Human trafficking – a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts – thrives in such environments, preying on the influx of people, the “wild-party” mentality, and the lure of quick cash.  But just like a powerful defense shuts down an opponent’s offense, we can tackle human trafficking head-on. By being alert, informed, and proactive, we can turn Super Bowl weekend into a force for good:

  1. Be a conscious spectator: Look for red flags. Are workers in massage parlors, nail salons, or the hospitality industry acting fearful or controlled? Do they lack basic necessities or proper identification? Trust your gut and report any suspicions to local authorities or the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888).
  2. Support organizations like Radiate Coalition: This Texas-based organization offers vital after-care to victims of human trafficking, providing safe housing, medical assistance, legal support, and emotional and psychological healing. Visit our website to learn more about our critical work, centered around healing and complete restoration in Christ and how you can contribute.
  3. Spread awareness: Talk to your friends and family about human trafficking. Trafficking is modern day slavery.  The U.S. Department of State estimates that there are over 27.6 million trafficking victims in the world today!  We cannot be a people who know this dark reality and do nothing to change it.  The more informed we are, the more effectively we can combat this blatant evil. Share reliable resources like Polaris Project and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
  4. Pray:  Pray for those who are still trapped in these horrific situations against their will.  Pray for their rescue.  Pray for their healing.  Pray for our law enforcement who work overtime to keep people safe and come hard against the increased levels of crime that happen around large gatherings of people.  Pray against the evil that drives those who are leading the trafficking rings around the world.  Pray for the ministry of Radiate Coalition and other ministries around the world who are being the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need of rescue and healing.  

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Let’s make this Super Bowl weekend a memorable one, not just for the touchdowns and commercials, but for our collective effort to acknowledge the global issue of human trafficking. This is not just something happening in other countries. It’s right here. Right now. In our own backyard. Together, we can ensure that America’s most watched television broadcast of the year becomes a powerful platform for awareness, compassion, and action. Remember, we’re not just cheering for our teams; we’re advocating for a world free from modern-day slavery. So raise your voices, your awareness, and your support. Let’s make this Super Bowl a victory for humanity.