Active Fighting Tips for Super Bowl Weekend

Photo credit: Mission 14

As we end the Human Trafficking Awareness Month tonight, it’s really just the beginning. Tomorrow is the Super Bowl, one of the largest sporting events in the world and a hot spot for human trafficking.

While there is no hard evidence to prove that an increase in trafficking occurs, the reality that any sporting event, concert, “good time,” where a lot of people (primarily men) are, there is trafficking. There is also a movement to raise awareness and advocate for victims of the sex trade.

This year, in Arizona, the government is standing behind the Arizona Is Not Buying It Campaign, reminding everyone that when a john buys a girl and is caught saying “I didn’t know,” they’re not buying it.

It may seem small. It may just seem like another PSA about human trafficking. But I have to say that it’s been amazing to see the success in understanding how prevalent sex trafficking is in the US because of the Super Bowl Campaigns…even if the event isn’t necessarily the biggest event of the year. More and more people are talking about it. More and more people are realizing that it’s a reality. That it happens everywhere. That it happens in your backyard.

It’s awesome to read about law enforcement in AZ focus on the john’s who are buying sex from girls who are forced to sell their bodies.

There is so much work to be done, but these small gains are still gains.

But, I recently watched and read this article, in which Annie Lobert states:

“While awareness campaigns to “stop trafficking” are great, they don’t solve the issue. There is so much more work to be done.”

Awareness only goes so far (though still very helpful). Action solves problems. As I think about this aspect–action. I think many people are at a loss on how to make a difference.

So, let’s start with three things that everyone can do; you’ll recognize them from earlier this month:

  • Speak up when friends treat things like strip clubs, prostitution or pimping as a joke.

Wherever I am, in the car with friends, at work, at a social event, I hear comments, music, jokes that promote the degrading of people to objects, that promote trafficking and exploitation and sexual violence. I am sure you do too. Just like every other abolitionist movement, we need to call people’s attention to how they are promoting the pain. Everyone can say something or refrain from laughing. Do not be a bystander. Do not promote the very thing we are fighting against: the buying and selling of people.

  • Remind the young women (and men!) in your life that they have worth and are worth being protected.

You all know a woman or a girl who could use some encouragement. Females can be self conscious about how they look or perhaps feelings of powerlessness or the ability to accomplish what they want to. 

Or maybe you know a man or boy who could be reminded that they can be honorable, and that by being honorable, they will be highly respected. Every man is insecure, wondering if he has what it takes in the world.

Every person struggles, especially when they are young. Who in your life could use some encouragement?

  • Teach youth how to discern how to avoid vulnerable situations and/or when to speak up when a friend seems to be vulnerable.

This is a huge issue that I see today. With all of the access points young people have to the world, and the world has to them, they are extremely vulnerable without even knowing it. And yet, I feel like so many parents are unaware of the dangers or don’t know how to equip their children to defend themselves. If you have kids, or if you interact with young people, there are a few extra tips here for you to check out.

Everyone can fight trafficking in these ways. Everyone.

So while you’re on your couch tomorrow, drinking beer and having wings with your friends, be careful what you promote, encourage at least one friend, and remind any children present that they are worth being protected and able to protect themselves.