Activists, survivors raise awareness of human trafficking before Super Bowl
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The City of Phoenix is working to prevent human trafficking during the Super Bowl. For years, headlines in host cities have sounded the alarm about potential increases in sex labor and human trafficking ahead of the big event.
Amid the bright lights of the Super Bowl, there is another billion-dollar industry. “It’s a massive criminal enterprise, there are a lot of players behind the scenes and it’s very orchestrated, it’s organized crime,” said one sex trafficking victim.
Human trafficking brings in around $150 billion in profit each year, according to the international labor organization. More than 20 million people are being trafficked worldwide. Dr. Adrian Fletcher was trafficked by her own dad. “It impacts all races, socioeconomic classes, there is a misconception that people have to come from poverty when that’s not true,” she said.
Back in 2015, when Glendale hosted its first Super Bowl, they came across sex workers traveling from California and Nevada. “A lot of the grooming is what gets people wrapped into it and then it’s extremely difficult to get out because their lives are threatened,” said Dr. Fletcher, a survivor, psychologist, and author.
In an effort to help, the City of Phoenix is partnering with the SOAP Project and community volunteers. “What we’ll be doing is having hundreds of volunteers hopefully label small bars of soap and makeup removal wipes and they’ll get educated on signs of what human trafficking are,” said Theresa Flores, founder of the SOAP Project.
Those items will then be sent out to local hotels and motels. “We know they will be through there if they’re being trafficked,” said Flores. “I just want other people to know they’re not alone, and I want to public to know we have a serious problem here and it is happening everyday,” Fletcher added.
- Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC): 1-877-4AZ-TIPS
- Submit an anonymous tip
- National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline: 1-888-373-7888
- Arizona Legal Women And Youth Services (ALWAYS)
- Phoenix Dream Center
- Sex Trafficking Help
- StreetLight USA
Teens can text the word “Safe” and their location to 69866. People can also reach out to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888 Or text HELP to: BeFree 233733.
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