Human trafficking spikes during Super Bowl

Human trafficking spikes during Super Bowl

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The Super Bowl is commonly known as the single largest human trafficking event in this country but advocates believe is is a year round issue. 

Texas Tech student Anna Clair Beasley has made it her mission to raise awareness ever since she met a survivor of human trafficking. 

"At the time, I was super overwhelmed," Beasley said. "I was like, 'what can an eighth grader do?' and so I just kept asking that question of, 'what can I do?' and when I got to Tech, I figured maybe there were some other students that might have been asking the same questions." 

Beasley started a student organization, 'Students Ending Slavery'.

"Our big focus is raising awareness and then also education," Beasley said. "So we do a meeting a month where it's about two hours long and we go really in depth about a certain topic." 

One major topic is sex trafficking. Beasley said with big events like the Super Bowl, there is a concentration of prostitution. 

"People with disposable income getting together, having a lot of freedom to come and go as they please in a new city, feeling, theirs kinda like this feeling of no consequences because you know it's like a party situation, and I think that's where you see it increase," Beasley said.

She said it will not just be an influx in Minneapolis. 

"A lot of survivors of trafficking have come forward to say that in addition to people being taken or moved to wherever the super bowl is happening, there's always a lot of activity around Las Vegas around the Super bowl," Beasley said.

Last Super Bowl, 750 people were arrested relating to sex trafficking, 100 of those in Houston. Beasley said these sting operations are effective but there needs to be a long term plan.

"Doing stings just around the Super Bowl isn't going to affect this issue at a great level and it actually contributes to lack of trust," Beasley said. "I mean if you're a prostitute and your getting arrested, which happens because prostitution is illegal, except for a few counties in Nevada, then that just continues to build that lack of trust in authority or lack of trust in people because people aren't who you think they are." 

Beasley said some of the signs to spot a victim are someone not in control of their personal information, a much older man with a young women, or a hotel room with constant visitors.

"It doesn't just happen on Super Bowl Sunday and it doesn't just happen by men that are drinking beer at hotels," Beasley said. "I mean it happens all the time with anyone, with family members, people that are married, women and all of it, so I think this is just the starting point of the discussion that should hopefully continue for years to come."

In Lubbock, case workers are currently working with about 150 survivors. If you spot something suspicious call the non-emergency police number.

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