On Feb. 3 many in America will attend or watch one of the megaentertainment events in the world, and the largest sporting event in America! The 47th annual edition of the American football Super Bowl, and the 43rd annual championship game of the National Football League will be held at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. There will be thousands of people descending upon New Orleans and the surrounding area, the demand for services for lodging, food, entertainment, memorabilia sale, catered parties and other personal needs will be great. Local residents will welcome the opportunity for additional employment during this time, however the need for more employees must be provided. There are national and international businesses that specialize in supplying workers for such events. A high percentage of these workers are the victims of human trafficking, today’s form of slavery. This is big business for organized crime and is the second largest criminal enterprise, proceeded by illicit sale of drugs and followed by arms sales.
Human trafficking is a broad term that refers to the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons, by the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or having a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
The most common types of Human Trafficking is sexual exploitation (women, girls and boys), forced labor such as domestic service, agriculture, factory, restaurant and hotel work, day labor, door to door sales and other areas. The United States is the second highest destination in the world for trafficked women. Kansas is one of thirty states that has laws in place for dealing with this deplorable Human Trafficking problem. This crime is somewhat invisible and tries to stay off the radar! We must be aware that our community may not be immune to this crime. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Please become more informed about this problem and take action by encouraging our Senators in Washington D.C. to pass “The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008”, Bill # S. 3061. The House passed the bill in 2008.
There is a need to help and protect the victims of Human Trafficking. As a member of the United Methodist Women’s International Organization it is one of our goals to support the effort of increasing the awareness of Human Trafficking.
When you watch and enjoy the big game, please give consideration to the invisible victims that remain in the background.