Pastor's Blog

What Made it a SUPER Bowl Posted 2.07.2014

Football season is over.  Some say finally, other just count the days until a Fantasy Football draft reawakens our relationship with the pigskin.  The game was a bit dull, one you either loved or hated, depending on your team affiliation. I won’t go there today.


I will go to the morning after.  Monday I was checking out the latest news headlines, only to discover what really made the Super Bowl…super.  I had thought it a bit crazy to host the game in the middle of winter in an outdoor stadium in the northeast.  Well, the game survived with a “balmy” afternoon (40 degrees is balmy???).  A headline grabbed my attention, and I saw the Super Bowl in a new light.  It was a life-changing event for at least 16 children.


The headline screeched, “45 arrested, 16 juveniles rescued in Super Bowl prostitution bust.”  What? The article said that the FBI rescued 16 juveniles over a two-week period in a crackdown on prostitution the New York-New Jersey area.  Some of those arrested claimed they traveled to the area because of the Super Bowl, which drew an estimated 400,000 visitors to the region and some of the children rescued had been reported missing by their families.


One agent said, “It's easy to focus on this issue in light of a high-profile event, but the sad reality is, this is a problem we see every day in communities across the country."  That’s tragic!  Globally, human trafficking - which includes not only people forced into prostitution but domestic workers and others who are transported from their homes and forced to work - is a $32 billion industry with some 2.5 million victims, according to data from the United Nations. 


The latest arrests are in addition to last week's bust of a multimillion-dollar New York criminal operation that sold wealthy clients "party packs" of drugs and prostitutes. Some 18 people were arrested in that crackdown, New York state officials said.


One woman who trafficked into prostitution as a teen and now works as an anti-trafficking activist said, “I don't blame this on the Super Bowl or Nascar events, or the Final Four in basketball.  I blame it on the lack of education that is happening because we are not going after the demand, that is, the men."

My heart is breaking.


But now I have a different perspective on these large, media-driven sporting events.  I can complain about the commercials and the excess, but I can also pray for law enforcement that they will be able to make even more and more arrests and end as much of this painful exploitation of women as possible.


During the last 11 years, the FBI and its partner agencies have recovered more than 3,100 children and helped convict 1,400 people in human-trafficking cases.  Last year’s Super Bowl operation in New Orleans led to 85 arrests. In 2012, nearly 70 arrests were made in Indianapolis.  I’d missed those articles.


If these are the numbers in America, what is going on around the world?  May our hearts break for that which breaks the heart of God.


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