The Super Bowl is just one just day away. Among all of the chatter about who will win and which creative commercial will get the most attention, you may have heard that the Super Bowl is the largest human trafficking event in the world.

Lately, there has been a lot of pushback surrounding this claim because there is no evidence to back it up. Although we’re glad that word is spreading about the issue of sex trafficking and more people are wanting to take a stand and protect people from becoming victims, we want to make sure that the facts that are shared are actually true.

Even though the Super Bowl may not be the biggest event for human trafficking, it is true that larger events such as concerts or sports games draw a larger crowd, and therefore a larger demand for purchased sex. The sad reality of this fact is that the Super Bowl is not an isolated incident for sex trafficking.

Annie Lobert, a survivor of sex trafficking from Las Vegas, shared in an article about her experience with the Super Bowl. She says that while the Super Bowl did bring a lot of men that wanted to buy sex, it wasn’t her busiest week of the year. She goes on to emphasize this:

“What is most important to note is that much like it is in Las Vegas, trafficking is happening in every city across the United States, 24/7, 365 days a year. Wherever there’s a Smartphone, computer, strip club, or massage parlor, trust that sex is being sold to those who demand it. And if sex is being sold, sex trafficking going on at the same time. It is literally happening everywhere, all of the time.”

Another important misconception that is necessary to dispel about this claim is that increased human trafficking means that traffickers come to the Super Bowl to kidnap girls. While there might be isolated cases of kidnapping in any large event such as this, the more likely reality is that pimps are bringing in women and children that are already being exploited.

In order to protect the women and children that are trafficked at large events like the Super Bowl, you can look out for these warning signs to identify victims:

  • Signs of physical abuse such as burn marks, bruises or cuts  
  • An older boyfriend that is very controlling and domineering
  • A person that is not left alone or doesn’t have control of money or ID
  • Sexualized behavior or inappropriately dressed
  • Seems withdrawn, depressed, or distracted  
  • Tattoo related to money, a name, royalty, etc (tattoos are often used by pimps as a way to brand victims.)  
  • *Hotels: A traveler only paying in cash or a guest escorting various men into their room (possibly with an older male or female watching the door and staying around until the guests leave)
  • *Truck stops: young girls or boys lingering around truck stops or entering and exiting trucks

If you see any of these warning signs or other suspicious behavior, do not hesitate to call the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report any tips (888-373-7888). If you see something, say something.