The Truth About The Super Bowl Half Time Show

Surprise: It has nothing to do with J-Lo or Shakira.

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Warning: Some statistics might be difficult to stomach.

In the weeks leading up to the biggest football game of the year, the NFL network allotted a portion of their marketing budget to help spread the awareness of sex-trafficking and the variations of risk that a game like the Super Bowl presents. News sources such as Time, The Miami Herald, ESPN, and ABC News dedicated articles to notifying the general public about the warning signs and the precautions they should take should they find themselves in a situation that feels uncomfortable. Knowing the majority of viewers tune in for those playing the game and less the commercials, NFL players were recruited as speakers in ads, which were aired multiple times in the days approaching the game.

The majority of us looked at these commercials — some may have even decided to change the channel — and continued to look forward to the game, much like the families of these young children did. As the city hosting the game, The Miami Herald used its local news sources to amplify the reality that was quickly coming into focus about the preparations already being made by the enemy. With its rank of third in the nation for sex trafficking hubs, the officials congregated to put in place messaging that would warn participants.

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“Traffickers have already set up at resorts in Miami Beach or no-tell motels on Southwest Eighth Street or extended-stay hotels near downtown. They’ve placed ads on sex-for-hire and adult entertainment websites and they’re trolling lobbies, pool decks, bars and Super Bowl parties to find johns ready to pay $100 cash for 30 minutes in a room with a person they may think of as a prostitute but who is more likely one of 40 million victims caught in the $150 billion sex and labor trafficking industry. It is second only to drug trafficking as the world’s largest criminal industry, according to the International Labour Organization and the nonprofit Polaris Project.”

We looked at these commercials, some of us with concern, most with a blind eye, and we tuned in on Sunday.

ESPN shares that, “In 2019 alone, per the Institute for Sport and Social Justice’s “Shut Out Trafficking” program, there were 2,907 individuals arrested, suspected or charged with human trafficking activities in the United States. More than 400 people over 18 years of age were rescued from being trafficked and nearly 115 children under age 18 were freed.”

Though these are promising figures, there is much work to still be done as these numbers reflect a very small portion of those who were successfully abducted.

According to USA Today, every 2 minutes, a child is exploited in the sex industry — 36% of those children being boys, while 60% are female, and 5% are transgender. In Georgia alone, there are roughly 7,200 men actively seeking to purchase sex with adolescent girls on a monthly basis. This figure averages out to an estimated 300 per day.

Once in captivity, these children might be raped by nearly 6,000 men on average over the course of a five-year period. Every single year, 100,000 children are bought and sold in the United States and as many as 300,000 are at constant risk.

These figures are staggering and should keep the majority of us up at night… why don’t they?

This is an industry that revolves around cheap sex on the fly, with young girls and women who are sold to 50 men each day for $25 apiece, while their handlers make $150,000 to $200,000 per child each year. These individuals have placed a value on human beings that reflects much of the history we have worked feverishly to eradicate from society.

As a woman who has had a man follow her around a store, a stranger attempt to get into my car at a gas station, and a number far too high to count of uncomfortable experiences that felt a bit like a set-up, I am through speaking without educating and ultimately, offering a solution that places our future in a promising direction.

Truth be told, whether you are a young girl or boy, you should be scared and desperate for the answers that will help you mitigate the risk of falling into these sorts of traps. These individuals do not discriminate when it comes to gender and children as young as 7 years old are being sold. Imagine your world being rocked in a way so perverse before you even finish the first grade.

While many of our eyes lifted to the halftime show, there were countless children we let down in doing so. It is evident that our society as a whole is so cognitively impaired when it comes to the problems that will remove the potential for many futures that we have perpetuated the disappointment. If one person can take a child’s entire innocence and future away from them, then the idea that you, yourself, can’t make a positive change, is foolish. An apology is not what is warranted, but an action that reflects the desire for change is undoubtedly our next step as a society.

Written by

Writer. Poet. Philomath. Dog Mom. Traveler. Creator. Wanderer. Teacher. Empath. Author of “Unapologetically Human” - available on Amazon

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