The human trafficking problem surfaced again last week in light of Super Bowl 50. But with the Super Bowl whirlwind coming to a close—Cam Newton, Eli and Peyton Manning, Beyoncé and all—the human trafficking conversation drifts to the back of our minds.
But today we’re bringing it up again because some good reports are coming out about cracking down on human trafficking during last weekend’s Super Bowl 50 events. It’s not everyday you hear good news about human trafficking—or good news at all, really—so here are some cool stories of victories of rescuing victims of human trafficking!
Santa Clara, California—As the host city for Super Bowl 50, the San Francisco Bay Area News is reporting over 40 victims of human trafficking were rescued during last week’s Super Bowl events. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office used local online escort ads to arrest or cite dozens of people in a three-week undercover operation.
The National Johns Suppression Initiative—Altogether, over 500 arrests were made around the country leading up to Super Bowl 50 as part of the National Johns Suppression Initiative, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The campaign targets “Johns” (the customers of human trafficking) and pimps (the dealers and traffickers of the victims) in cities across the nation including Pheonix, Little Rock, Las Vegas, Reno, Portland, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Houston, to name a few. The NSJI was created by Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart in 2011, and has busted more than 4,000 buyers and pimps since then.
Innocence Lost National Initiative–The Federal Bureau of Investigation‘s campaign against human trafficking rescued seven minors, ranging in ages 14 to 17, during Super Bowl 50 operations. More than 200 arrests were made. The FBI’s campaign is in cooperation with the Department of Justice and since its beginning in 2003, the Innocence Lost National Initiative has recovered nearly 5,000 sexually exploited children.
Louisville, Kentucky—Scarlet’s Bakery has just opened in Louisville and its story is one of restoration. Scarlet’s Bakery is a vision of Scarlet Hope, a ministry reaching out to women in the adult entertainment industry, a scene closely associated and often tied to human trafficking. Scarlet’s Bakery offers jobs—hope and restoration—to women who need work after leaving the industry.
Human trafficking doesn’t just happen in the U.S. during the Super Bowl or other large events. It’s everywhere, and there are many organizations fighting against human trafficking worldwide. Get involved with organizations like Scarlet Hope, Make It Stop, Women At Risk, International (WAR), The END IT Movement, The A21 Campaign, S.O.A.P.,or The Exodus Road and be part of the good things that are happening around you.