This is an incredibly enlightening piece from GEMS regarding the sensationalist reactions of the past few years toward trafficking during the Super Bowl:
“Real change is long-term and systemic. It’s not about throwing some money at an issue for a few months and then moving on. Prevention isn’t just about some splashy ads or some quick awareness trainings. Law enforcement needs to be able to work long-term investigations that don’t solely rely on the word of a victim and that will stand up in court not just on quick and dirty cases that will make arrest numbers higher. Intervention isn’t just about volunteers running around hotels for a few weeks looking to rescue victims but about committed individuals who can work alongside survivors to support and empower them wherever they’re at in the process. That may not line up with the current Super Bowl/trafficking narrative and it’s not really what the media wants to hear, but it’s the truth. What is true, without question, is that commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking will undoubtedly happen in the New York/New Jersey area during the first week of February, and the second and third and fourth week of February and in March and April and every single day and every night throughout the year. What’s also true is that most of the victims won’t be brought in from other states, and a large percentage of them will be children, youth and young adults who experienced childhood trauma and fell through the cracks of the systems set up to serve them. Overwhelmingly they’ll be low-income youth, youth of color, LGBT youth and will have experienced homelessness. The older they are, the less likely that they will be viewed or treated as victims by law enforcement or even service providers. As for the buyers, most of them won’t be from out of town either. They’ll be local men of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. And the truth is, they won’t need lots of alcohol, lots of testosterone or an annual sporting event as an excuse to purchase another human being. Now those are the things that I wish we were focusing our resources and attention on” (full post linked above).
For more information about human trafficking, including survivor stories and country-specific trends, visit the Human Trafficking archive.