Law enforcement, victims' groups warn Super Bowl brings increased sex trafficking

Sex trafficking and the Super Bowl go hand in hand, say some victims' advocates (Jan. 30, 2016)

A buzz is underway in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the Super Bowl coming to town.

Super Bowl host cities typically see a spike in tourists. There is also a rise in some crimes -- including prostitution. Law enforcement says the Super Bowl is expected to be a magnet for sex trafficking.  

With super bowl 50 a week away, local law and crime victims' advocates are worried. 

"There will be a few that will be using this as an unfortunate opportunity to exploit women," said Nilda Valmores, Executive Director of My Sister's House in Sacramento. The organization works to stop domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. A big concern in our region.

In the last several years, a local FBI task force has recovered more than 300 girls being sold for sex in the greater Sacramento area. With many sex trafficking victims brought here from overseas, San Jose Airport and San Francisco Airport are teaching employees to pick up warning signs and to identify victims in advance of the big game.

They need all the help they can get. The numbers are alarming. Right before the Super Bowl last year, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies in Arizona arrested more than 400 sex buyers and traffickers. Thirty teens were rescued. 

My Sister's House officials say human trafficking comes in many forms.

"You may see a spike in terms of massage parlor activities," said Valmores.

"If they don't have their papers with them, if they seem very nervous, those are some red flags." said Valmores. "If you see a person with a partner and it doesn't really seem like a normal relationship. Maybe there's an age difference; maybe there seems to be a language difference; maybe the person seems really petrified."

Victims groups and law enforcement hope educating the public about what to look out for will  help reduce down on the problem. Some law enforcement experts believe women and girls are being moved from other areas to the Super Bowl because it's a big money maker.

At least one victim's advocate told ABC10 she is really worried that more women might be recruited or duped into sex trafficking.



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