(NewsNation) — Law enforcement officials and victim advocacy groups are working together in Glendale, Arizona, to fight potential sex trafficking activity predicted to have a significant presence near the Super Bowl.
The influx in travelers has many concerned the event is a perfect environment for sex traffickers to exploit young girls and boys, with trafficking activity typically taking place in hotels and resorts. Officials have begun taking steps to get in front of the issue before the city is flooded with fans and spectators.
Sex trafficking at the Super Bowl is not a new concern. In 2011, the then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott referred to it as “the single largest human-trafficking incident in the United States.”
“The Super Bowl is the greatest show on Earth, but it also has an ugly underbelly,” said Abbott.
Officials say events like the Super Bowl often result in a spike in human trafficking, thanks to the large crowds and the opportunity for traffickers to find vulnerable people.
An estimated 25 million people are trafficked worldwide each year, the majority for forced labor and 20 percent for sex trafficking, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Jaquelyn Aluotto, president of the nonprofit “No Trafficking Zone,” joined “NewsNation Prime” to discuss warning signs.
“Really what predators look for is vulnerabilities and vulnerabilities whether it’s a young girl or someone at an event and maybe they’re drinking too much and they want to lure you to their car or their hotel room. That’s really how sex trafficking takes place. It’s force, fraud or coercion,” said Aluotto.
Studies show sporting events like the Super Bowl are where more than half the money in the $150 billion industry of human trafficking, is made.