Super Bowl LIV is still months away, but officials in Miami, Florida are working to combat sex trafficking before this season’s big event.
The Super Bowl is notorious for attracting sex traffickers, many of whom will exploit children younger than 12. In fact, several hotels in Atlanta, Georgia are facing sex trafficking lawsuits for allegedly enabling the illegal activity during last year’s Super Bowl LIII.
Super Bowl LIV is scheduled to kick-off on February 2, 2020 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. But in the week leading up to the game, tens of thousands of people will flock to Miami hotels and motels to take advantage of a party atmosphere.
More than 300 local community organizations are participating in the Florida initiative, along with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Human Trafficking Task Force, the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations and other governmental agencies.
“We’re not going to tolerate the sexual exploitation of our children and our youth,” Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the Miami-Dade state attorney, said at a news conference earlier this week.
The Super Bowl anti-sex trafficking initiative will include a “Creepy Guy” poster and other ads prominently displayed on billboards, buses, and through social media warning visitors: “Buy Sex. Be Exposed.” A new phone number, 305-FIX-STOP, will also allow the public to report sex trafficking suspicions to law enforcement.
Sex trafficking occurs when an individual uses force, coercion, or fraud as a means of inducing someone to engage in a commercial sex act, including prostitution, pornography, or sexual performance, against their will. According to federal law, anyone who sells a minor under the age of 18 for sex is engaging in sex trafficking, regardless of the minor’s consent.
Hotels and motels are a favorite venue of sex traffickers, due to ease of access for buyers, ability to pay in cash, and lack of facility maintenance or upkeep expenses. Sex traffickers operating out of hotels frequently advertise commercial sex services through social media and online platforms.
Signs of sex trafficking in a hotel or motel may include:
Even absent the Super Bowl, Miami-Dade County ranks first in Florida for sex trafficking, while Florida ranks third among all 50 states.
About 40% of those being trafficked are children, while the remaining are between 18 and 23 years of age. Federal statistics suggests the average trafficker will sell their victim up to 20 times per day, raking in as much as much as $200,000 on each person they traffic.