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Sex Tourism and the Super Bowl

When planning a vacation, most of us consider white sandy beaches, quiet and serene mountain escapes, maybe even thrilling waterfall excursions. However, there is a darker type of “vacation” known as sex tourism. Put simply, sex tourism is traveling for the exclusive and sole purpose of engaging in sexual activity; often this means with a prostitute or someone they can’t easily access, like a child.

Outside of adult sex tourism in obvious locations like Las Vegas, Amsterdam, and New Zealand, there is a network and market for people to travel for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with children, some as young as four years old.

Though occurring to some degree all over the world, child sex tourism is exceptionally popular in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Gambia, the Dominican Republic, and the Philippines. In the following video clip, Benjamin Nolot of Exodus Cry describes an encounter with a Western man bartering for sex with a girl in Svay Pak, Cambodia, considered the world capital of child sex tourism.

Don Brewster, Executive Director of Agape International Missions describes a small village in which dozens of girls are confined in a small area and sold upwards of 5-10 times a day, mostly to foreigners.

But sex tourism isn’t limited to children, or those countries. It isn’t even limited to places like Las Vegas, or countries where prostitution has been legalized. Sex tourism is as fluid as the location of major sporting events.

The Olympics, Super Bowl, World Cup, World Series, and most major sporting events move year to year. As male-dominated events, the demand for sex is high. Typically away from home and the accountability of people they know–and often intoxicated by both alcohol and the hype of the event–their inhibitions against illicit sex are loosened. These activities are frequently pre-planned.

What most don’t realize, however, is the majority of prostitutes at these events are not there by choice–they are in fact being trafficked.

  • 183 sex buyers and nine sex traffickers were arrested at the 2017 Houston Super Bowl.

  • 94 sex traffickers were arrested at the 2018 Super Bowl.

  • 169 people were arrested in Atlanta in 2019 on charges of sex trafficking during an 11-day operation around the Super Bowl. Eighteen victims were rescued, half of which were juveniles.

If you read our Super Bowl LIII post last year, we discussed the #TackleDemand campaign project through the National Center of Sexual Exploitation. Last year, the activist hashtag #TackleDemand reached over 80,000 people throughout the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

The Center is again running the #TackleDemand campaign project this year’s Super Bowl. Save one of the pictures below to post on social media with the hashtag #tackledemand, or head over to their website for more options to help #tackledemand.

Organizations like O.U.R. are even partnering with NFL teams like the Steelers to help combat child trafficking and bring awareness to human trafficking within the NFL. Check out this awesome interview with NFL Steeler’s Head Coach Mike Tomlin and why he is so passionate about fighting modern slavery.

For more information about sex tourism, check out resources like:

Nefarious: Merchant of Souls

Exodus Cry YouTube Channel

Exodus Cry Podcast

Tackle Demand Website

Operation Underground Railroad

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