Friday, January 30, 2015

The Super Bowl and Human Trafficking

This past couple of weeks, people have sent me emails expressing concerns about the escalation of modern-day slavery during the Super Bowl. They've sent links to articles saying the Super Bowl is the largest trafficking event in the U.S. and links to other articles saying that this whole idea is an urban legend

I don't know what the right answer is about the Super Bowl. It makes sense to me that at an event as large as America's greatest football game--with thousands of people coming from out of town--traffickers might exploit the occasion. It also makes sense that if there is a huge escalation and law enforcement is aware of it, that we might see a corresponding escalation in the rate of arrests. Or perhaps the crime is too hidden and the demands on law enforcement too great to make much difference.
 Regardless I do know an important reality--that we live in a culture where many factors contribute to modern-day sex slavery, and we're all part of it, like it or not. Our behavior makes a difference. Ads like Carl's Jr au naturale cater to the hypersexualization of our society. (And, no I'm not going to link to it; suffice it to say that the ad was raunchy enough to be pulled from the Super Bowl line up by the Parents Television Council who deemed it "too hot" for television). When we buy their hamburgers, we support their advertising. Pornographic novels and movies like "Fifty Shades of Grey" are even worse because we make them bestsellers and box office hits. Many in our society have become so desensitized that we cater to our prurient interests despite a complete disregard for how these forms of entertainment degrade women and make young girls prone to becoming sex objects--ripe for traffickers to groom them into modern-day sex slaves. Only by boycotting such books and films and getting others to do the same will those who make them, stop.

There's no doubt in my mind that it's going to take a culture shift to change things. Groups like C.A.R.E. 18 have begun collaborating on how to eradicate sex trafficking and they are calling on people to step it up and get involved. As co-sponsors of the Global Human Trafficking Forum Saturday February 7th, C.A.R.E. employs a collaborative approach drawing together people from many different spheres of society to work together to eradicate trafficking. Maybe the more people become aware and get involved, the more ads like Carl's Jr's will become unacceptable and movies like "Fifty Shades of Grey" will be completely unthinkable. When people take these matters seriously and start boycotting those who pander to the degradation of women--maybe then things will change and modern-day slavery will become less lucrative for the thugs who promote it.

Until then, one of the most effective things we can do is pray to the God who can change peoples hearts and minds. Prayer Surge Now offers an opportunity to do that tomorrow morning especially focusing on the potential trafficking at the Super Bowl. Even if one girl is rescued as a result, wouldn't it be worth getting up early and spending a little time silently agreeing with the prayer leaders that human trafficking must be stopped?

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