According to Christian Post, the Super Bowl and other large sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup are increasingly being recognized as magnets for sex trafficking and child prostitution.
The 2010 Super Bowl saw an estimated 10,000 sex workers brought in to Miami, while the 2011 event resulted in 133 prostitution-related arrests in Dallas.
In the past, attempted crackdowns by law enforcement have misfired by treating prostitutes as criminals to be locked up rather than victims to be rescued, but awareness efforts have been working, and government agencies have begun to pay more attention to the problem.
As Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller explained, "There are enormous economic benefits of hosting large sporting events such as the Super Bowl, but the disturbing reality is that such gatherings in other states have drawn criminal rings that traffic young women and children into the commercial sex trade."
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott acknowledged the Super Bowl as "the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States."
What is driving this horrible exploitation, and why are such seemingly innocuous gatherings as sports events attracting the abuse of women and girls?
The key is that demand increases as men flood into a city for a weekend of fun. Without an eager market willing to pay to enjoy the exploitation of women, sex trafficking and child prostitution would have no reason to exist.
Yes, organized crime takes advantage of the disadvantaged and the vulnerable. And yes, our hyper-sexualized culture makes it seem normal and acceptable for sex to be treated as a commodity to be bought and sold.
Yes, porn fuels the sex trade by teaching its consumers that women exist for the pleasure of men and that their purpose is to be degraded and dehumanized for men's excitement.
But below the surface, these problems are all symptoms of a patriarchal world system that preys on women and children, keeping them subservient to and fearful of men so that they can be controlled and used.
Other articles have been written to raise awareness of human trafficking and sexual assault, but the hope is in more than just awareness and government initiatives; what we look forward to is the opposite of the patriarchal world system: the kingdom of God.