People shuffling, drinks spilling, hearts breaking, and you’re there.
You're a person who enjoys football; you drove all the way to the stadium with tickets you spent months laboring over. You take a breath and enjoy the chaos of the moment. You’re there for a game and simply that.
She doesn’t enjoy the intimidation; she hated the handcuffs as she was forced to the stadium she spent months avoiding. She takes a breath and slowly loses who she is. She’s there as an object and simply that.
Suddenly, two worlds collide, and you’re not just at the Super Bowl anymore.
You’re at a human trafficking mecca where over 10,000 children are forced into prostitution.
I wish that number did not need repeating, yet it is still hard to grasp. That number is near the amount of students attending Tennessee Tech. Imagine that our whole University took a trip to the game and left with something stolen from us. This would make the news on CNN, in USA Today and in every Huffington Post article. That is a lot of people losing something.
Now, imagine that same number attending the Super Bowl, but instead their innocence is forcefully stolen 25-50 times a day. Sure, it makes articles here and there for about a week before and a week after the event, but then it dies out.
Human trafficking is a problem 365 days a year.
“The $32 billion a year illicit industry, second only to drug trafficking, victimizes between 300,000 to 400,000 American children every year in some form of sex-trafficking,” according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Now that we can compare the numbers of the Super Bowl with the year-round numbers just for our country, it is shocking that we haven’t intervened more.
As we sat on our couches last week, ate our chips and salsa and became critics of every commercial, we ignored the current reality. However, it didn't end there. Even now with homework resuming, Netflix returning and job searches beginning, this same problem exists. Whether on the streets of the Super Bowl or the streets of a small town in Kansas, sex trafficking is the same.
In the past year, 37 states have passed new laws to fight human trafficking, according to the Polaris Project, a national human trafficking resource center. However, only four states in America abide by all 10 categories of laws needed to obliterate modern day slavery. This means that 92 percent of America is subject to incomplete freedom, which every human being should be entitled to.
Though this problem is below the surface and behind closed doors, it doesn't mean it’s unreachable. In respect to those mistreated, ask questions, provide help and vote wisely. We as a country can end this destructive epidemic.
In any case, don’t store this newsflash away like everyone else. I know it is a week after the game, and this seems like less of an issue, but it’s rampant. We are not done with the war on modern day slavery, and the recent events of the Super Bowl are just a reminder that our world is still broken. We can make a difference by standing up and ending this.
You are here to make a difference and simply that.