FOOTBALL’S BIG NIGHT HAS DARK SIDE: FSU EXPERT AVAILABLE TO TALK ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING AT SUPER BOWL
Coaches, athletes, sports fans and businesses are descending on East Rutherford, NJ and the surrounding New York City area this weekend for the biggest football event of the year – Super Bowl XLVIII.
But for all the athletic glory and glamour surrounding the National Football League’s biggest night, a darker story is emerging hand-in-hand with pro football’s championship game: Sex Trafficking.
One of Florida State University’s nationally recognized experts is available to speak to the media about the problem.
Terry Coonan, executive director of the Center for Advancement of Human Rights: (850) 644-4550; [email protected]
Coonan is an internationally recognized expert on human rights issues. He has traveled around the world training law enforcement and judges on sex trafficking and has worked closely with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Legislature on sex trafficking legislation. He also visited the White House last year to talk with federal officials about a national strategy to combat sex trafficking.
“The Super Bowl is a really big magnet for sex trafficking and prostitution,” he said.
Coonan said dozens of people are rescued each year at the Super Bowl by organizations working to help victims of sex trafficking. Sadly, the people often rescued are children.
“The focus is on minors,” Coonan said, noting young girls are often advertised as “new” or “just in” to tip off potential clientele who are specifically interested in children.
It’s not specifically the Super Bowl that draws in pimps and the men and women they traffic, he said. Any large sporting event with a party like atmosphere is going to be a draw for that type of activity.
It’s impossible to tell though how many people might be trafficked during a big event like the Super Bowl. While dozens are rescued, Coonan said advocates fear they are only “scratching the surface.”