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Just a little over a week ago, as we all hunkered down in the midst of an Oklahoma blizzard, many of us were also enjoying watching the Super Bowl. But did you know that at the same time this football game was being played there was also another game in town, one of the ugliest of all games: the trafficking of underage prostitutes—a game otherwise known as modern-day slavery.
Each year, 100,000 to 300,000 American kids, some as young as 12 years of age, are exploited in the sex trade. They are literally bought and sold as property by traffickers who use the Super Bowl and other large events to "market their wares" to "sports fans."
For example, in 2009 two Florida men were convicted on federal charges for using Craigslist to subject a 14-year-old girl to prostitution during the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay.
During the 2010 game in Miami, child advocacy groups identified numerous out-of-town underage prostitutes working the streets of multiple Miami-area neighborhoods.
A Hawaii man was convicted of flying in a 17-year-old girl from Hawaii to South Beach for prostitution during the same Super Bowl festivities.
Miami-Dade police and federal agents actually organized a Minor Vice Task Force and launched a series of undercover stings targeting underage sex rings during that Super Bowl week.
And this year the Texas Attorney General confirmed that agents were monitoring websites for the trafficking of minors and were also launching undercover investigations in Dallas-Fort Worth and the border region between Texas and Mexico.
So during the next Super Bowl if you find yourself callously smiling at the sexual exploitation of the newest Go Daddy Girl, remember that teenage slaves are being bought and sold right outside the same stadium and they aren't smiling.