For Immediate Release
February 9, 2023
2700 N. Central Ave, Suite 1100
Phoenix, AZ 85004
602-279-2900 / 1-800-782-6400
AZ COALITION TO END SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE’S STATEMENT ON THE MYTH OF SUPER BOWL INCREASING SEX TRAFFICKING
PHOENIX, February 9, 2023 – As Phoenix, Arizona prepares as the host city for the Super Bowl LVII on February 12, 2023, as usual with large sporting events around the worth, the myth of the Super Bowl increasing sex trafficking has resurfaced.
Sex trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which individuals perform commercial sex through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. It is estimated 4.8 million people are trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally.
As Arizona has been gearing up to host the Super Bowl, once again the false idea that the tourists and fans visiting Phoenix increases sex trafficking, has been raised. The unfounded and exaggerated numbers of potential people being victimized by sex trafficking as a result of heighted demand by the event, is unsupported and discredits legitimized efforts to prevent sex trafficking, reduce harm, and identify and help victims.
Various studies have debunked this myth, saying that while there is an increase in advertisements for commercial sex and arrest of those responding to those ads, there is not an increase in sex trafficking or recruitment of victims. There is no notable difference in sex trafficking increasing around large events like the Super Bowl or the Waste Management Open.
As the Arizona State University Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research along with the McCain Institute shares in their findings, sex buying, sex selling and sex trafficking occur every day in Phoenix and interventions to change attitudes and beliefs of sex buyers does not require a national campaign, but instead a targeted local effort as the majority of the offenders are local residents. However, despite the realities, special task forces are developed and addressed, resources and funding are put into policing and the general community are caught up in the false idea that sex trafficking is rampant. These falsehoods also cause the stereotyping of victim and recruiter identities creating false solutions to supporting victims of sex trafficking and reliance on the criminal legal system. Funding and resources are focused on law enforcement who focus on arresting sex workers, rather than assisting victims.
While the Super Bowl does not increase sex trafficking, sex trafficking should be an issue of concern in all communities. Sex trafficking happens everywhere, in all demographics. However, the majority of traffickers know their victim and capitalize on that connection. It is important to know where to get help, to be a supportive person to someone who may be experiencing sex trafficking, and to call attention to people in your life who may be buying sex from a victim.
Real solutions to address local efforts to reduce sex trafficking include:
-putting funding and resources into supportive services like housing, medical care, and other advocacy services for victims of sex trafficking.
-focus on holding traffickers and buyers accountable, not sex workers or victims of sex trafficking
–education on sex trafficking including warning signs, who is trafficking victims, how to find help for those experiencing sex trafficking
-resources available in your community – programs, hotlines, and resources addressing this issue and victim support
If you or someone you know may be a victim of sex trafficking, connect with the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888. Help and resources area available, you are not alone.
About the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (ACESDV) works to dismantle oppression and promote equity among all people, focusing on increasing public awareness about sexual and domestic violence and enhancing safety and services for survivors. ACESDV was originally founded as the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1980, so that concerned citizens and professionals could unite in a statewide organization to end domestic violence. In 2013, the coalition became the designated dual coalition to address both sexual and domestic violence in Arizona, thus becoming the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. ACESDV provides training and technical assistance to responders, service providers, and community members, engages in public policy advocacy and public awareness initiatives, and provides direct services through the Arizona Sexual and Domestic Violence Helpline and online chat. To learn more visit www.acesdv.org
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
Jenna Panas, (817) 939-1577