Sex trafficking and sporting events linked? Arrest reports raise doubts

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Last week, we told you about local strip club employees banding together to fight sex trafficking in anticipation of a spike in forced prostitution related to the Broncos-Chargers game on January 12. Their plan was to hand out trading cards made especially for the playoff game, stamped with the message that "Sex Trafficking Is Modern Day Slavery!"

But did the big game, and the tens of thousands of fans it attracted, cause an increase in human trafficking? Denver arrest records indicate that it didn't.

Only one person was arrested in Denver for a prostitution-related charge over the weekend that the Broncos hosted the Chargers, according to the Denver police. Asked if that was indicative of an increase in prostitution-related activity, the police said no.

So why did the folks behind COAST -- Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking, the organization that coordinated the trading-card handout -- believe that the playoff game would attract human trafficking? Turns out that it's a common prediction. It was made before the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans. The international media is already reporting fears of an increase in child prostitution in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil this summer and law enforcement officials in New Jersey, which will host this year's Super Bowl on February 2, are gearing up to fight what some forecast will be an increase in human trafficking there.

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The front of the COAST card...
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...and the back of the card.

Some stories about Super Bowl-sex-trafficking concerns note that two men were convicted of using Craiglist to offer a fourteen-year-old girl as a "Super Bowl Special" when the game was held in Tampa in 2009.

But academic studies and follow-up reporting by several media outlets have shown that officials' worst fears don't always come true. In 2012, Westword's sister paper, the Village Voice, found that police reported no influx of out-of-state prostitutes in Phoenix after the 2008 Super Bowl, in Tampa after the 2009 Super Bowl or in Dallas after the 2011 Super Bowl. Writer Pete Kotz called the notion that big sporting events mean big increases in sex trafficking "one of America's great urban legends."

In 2012, the BBC found the same thing when it examined sex trafficking related to previous World Cups and Olympic Games. From the BBC story:

Prior to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, similar warnings were issued by media and various officials, but according to an EU report from January 2007, the German government only found five cases of trafficking cases linked to the tournament.

The report also states that "the increase in forced prostitution and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation during the 2006 World Cup in Germany which was feared by some did not materialise" with "no sign whatsoever of the alleged 40,000 prostitutes/forced prostitutes -- a figure repeatedly reported, also in international media."

And yet, the 2006 World Cup has been used as an example of an instance where huge numbers of prostitutes were paid for sex by large numbers of the tournament attendees.

Sticking with World Cups, a study funded by the United Nations Population Fund and conducted after the 2010 tournament in South Africa found there was no significant change in the numbers of men visiting prostitutes during that event.

But there had been broad speculation that between 40,000 and 100,000 sex workers from all over the world would enter South Africa because of that tournament.

The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, held in Vancouver, Canada were also subject to similar speculation -- but according to a study conducted afterwards by University of British Columbia researchers, mass trafficking didn't happen there, either.

The study says that "despite sensationalised media coverage" prior to the Games, there was "no evidence in this study to support concerns of an influx of sex workers or reports of trafficking of women or girls."

As for Denver, we're slated to host the championship game between the Broncos and the New England Patriots this Sunday, with the winner headed to the Super Bowl. And while calling attention to the crime of sex trafficking is commendable at any time of the year, the notion that the thousands of football fans who will attend this weekend's game make it absolutely critical to do so now may not be true.

More from our Sports archive: "Denver Post loses third Broncos reporter in a year-plus just before championship game."


Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com


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11 comments
watson99123
watson99123

the media will say that millions of people are sex slaves without doing any real research on the topic. Only taking the word of special interest anti-prostitution groups which need to generate money in the form of huge government grants from taxpayers, and charities. These “non profit” group’s employees make huge salaries, therefore they need to lobby the government, and inflate and invent victims in order to get more money into their organizations. If you look into how many real kidnapped forced against their will sex slaves there are, and not just take the anti-prostitution groups word for it. You will be very surprised.

Where are all the forced sex slaves? I would like to meet the millions of slaves and see for myself if they were kidnapped and forced against their will.

These groups lobby the government in a big way, getting Politicians to truly believe their lies. This is an attempt to over inflate an issue in order to get more government money to these organizations. As a tax payer, voter, and resident I don’t want the government to mislead me.

I would like to see a news organization do a full report on the lies, myths and exaggerated numbers being told about sex trafficking slaves. The articles about the super bowl sex slaves, has been proved wrong many times, but news organizations still report about it, as if it were fact.

watson99123
watson99123

There is a growing number of well respected researchers, journalists, scientists, professors, that have concluded in their research that the sex trafficking, sex slavery concept is based on emotion, morals, and monetary funding rather than facts, evidence and proof. They state that very few kidnapped, forced against their will, physically abused, raped sex slave prostitutes for profit have been found throughout the world. Their research concludes that women who enter into this type of work do so of their own free will. 


They also state that there are many anti-prostitution groups who simply do not like the idea of consensual adult prostitution and have distorted the facts in order to push their agenda and receive funding and money into their organizations in the form of donations, grants and to change the laws about prostitution. They state that these anti-prostitution groups use made up child sex trafficking statistics which they have no proof or evidence of in order to gain public acceptance for their cause. Which they then pass on to the media as press releases. Some of these professors and researchers include: Laura Agustin PhD in Cultural Studies and Sociology, Ronald Weitzer PhD, – a sociologist specializing in criminology and a professor at George Washington University, David Finkelhor PhD - professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire and director of Crimes Against Children Research Center.


http://humantraffickingstatistics.wordpress.com/

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

Simple solution: legalize and regulate prostitution.

Sher Quintana
Sher Quintana

And Election years! All the papers get full of sex ads and hookers!

Jen Lockhart McTighe
Jen Lockhart McTighe

Has your escort ads increased? Where there is sports there tend to be more horny men, yes? With that many excited men, comes more perverts... So yes, in my opinion I do believe it could happen. Sick as fuck, but it could. Good on him for doing something about it...

Hidden
Hidden

As someone whom works as an entertainer(dancer!!! nothing else) I can say that this past weekend many customers tried for more solicitation of "extras" than a normal weekend brings. Examples:"what does the dance include?", "if you won't do you know someone who will?", "lets meet after you get off work...(as they proceed to pull thousands of dollars out their pocket and attempt to convince an entertainer). 

I work at one of the classier establishments, most clients are in business suit and very well off. Thankfully due to a higher class clientele we deal with less of this solicitation on a daily basis than other not so nice clubs. But this weekend...that was not the case. At least 3/10 customers attempted to persuade for "more".


In addition many new girls came to audition this weekend. Many were "traveling entertainers". As part of the audition process the entertainer must provide a telephone number of which is cross-checked with a well known internet prostitution enabler(craigslist/back page) lets just say more than one auditioning girls picture was found on the site(s) and they were NOT hired. 


As a "good girl" in the industry its frustrating to have dancers(whom are also involved in prostitution) working in the club. It takes away our money, our repeat clientele and business. Not only does the club loose money but the dancers too. If a guys gets off with a girl after one song-he will not be buying more drinks, or more dances, or tipping on stage-he will leave because he got what he came for. 


In conclusion the mass sporting events(and conventions) definitely do bring is business but they also bring in many more possibilities of unwanted advances for hardworking entertainment industry workers. 

FreeTheWeed
FreeTheWeed

Strip clubs = sex trafficking training

NewsDog
NewsDog

Why don't you go read the Pete Kotz article referenced above, it's really good. 

I live in Dallas and was a little pissed that the 10,000 extra hookers didn't show up.  

FreeTheWeed
FreeTheWeed

Typical dancer snob thinks she is better than other sex workers.

Just wait until your little cocaine habit becomes a full-blown addiction, you'll be sucking cock for $$ in no time.

Hope that helps.

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