The Super Bowl – an industry that generates $10 billion annually – has become the single-largest human-trafficking event in the United States.
According to USA Today, an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 American women, some as young as 12, are exploited in the U.S. sex trade alone. The Huffington Post estimates that U.S. sex trafficking generates $9.5 billion annually.
Many of the U.S. victims are abducted before major sporting events.
Stephanie Kilper, of Operation Freedom Taskforce in Akron, Ohio said it’s not that girls necessarily become victims at the Super Bowl. They are abducted prior, but the demand at the games is so great that thousands of girls are then brought into the host city to service the men who attend.
The Florida Commission Against Human Trafficking estimates 10,000 women and minors were trafficked during the 2009 Super Bowl hosted in Tampa.
Clemmie Greenlee, 53, is a former victim of sex trafficking who was gang raped by her captors at age 12. She told the Times-Picayune that the trafficked girls who come to large sporting events are told how many acts they must perform each day. Greenlee recalls having to go through 25 to 50 men a day.
If the girls don’t make that number, she said their captors punish them with repeated rapings and torture. She says that the worst form of torture is having to watch another girl be punished because she didn’t make her quota for the day.
Greenlee said that she along with about eight other girls were injected with heroin and handcuffed to beds. She was once stabbed in the back for attempting to escape.
The A21 Campaign which works to end human slavery worldwide is trying to educate people through social media, and the discussion is growing on Twitter.