The State of Louisiana had the honor of hosting the Super Bowl this year; hosting no doubt has many economic and other benefits for the state, and it gives residents an opportunity to have a good time and relax. However, authorities in Louisiana also complain that with the Super Bowl comes human trafficking of teenage girls and others.
Reportedly, the crime initially involves a Super Bowl fan or other person soliciting sex online. According to authorities, the person will pay for someone to bring young people, sometimes against their will, to them for sexual favors. What begins as an Internet crime can lead to serious charges, including an allegation of rape.
Authorities promised that they would be monitoring gathering places like bars during this year's big game. Authorities claim that the alleged victims are often under coercion and so will deliberately stay out of the public eye.
There is concern and increased awareness about the human trafficking problem, especially around the time of the Super Bowl. Perhaps because of this heightened awareness, arrests in connection with human trafficking have risen.
Nevertheless, some may find what law enforcement is telling the public to be somewhat troubling. Officers have urged citizens to report if something "doesn't sit right in their gut" and if something "doesn't look right". While certainly people are free to call the police, the problem with a culture of suspicion that such advice creates is that it can lead to false accusations and arrests.
Usually, sex crimes, including those occurring on the internet, have two sides to the same story. A person who is accused of involvement in the world of human trafficking may have a number of available defenses. He or she may need all of those defenses in order to protect his or her liberty and reputation.
Source: WDSU, "Super Bowl lures human trafficking criminals, authorities say," Sula Kim, Jan. 31, 2013