Beyond the Nachos – The Underbelly of the Superbowl

A human trafficking awareness poster from the ...
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I am not a football fan but this weekend I will excitedly forgo a Sunday afternoon nap and head to our friends’ to enjoy great company, good food, interesting advertisements, and … oh yeah – I think there’s a football game as well. I love the Superbowl for all the reasons beyond football.

Much as I want this to be a light post there’s a troubling underbelly to the Superbowl and it demands my attention. Earlier this week my nephew alerted me to the problem of sex trafficking at this event – an event that has people tuned in across the nation, riveted to their seats to watch that missed field goal….(sorry, I just had to put that in).

Thousands of women and girls are brought to large sporting events and they aren’t  brought  to watch the games. They are brought  to satisfy the sexual appetites of Superbowl fans who came from around the nation. In the 2010 Superbowl an estimated 10,000 prostitutes were brought to Miami, many unwillingly. Football, Nachos, beer and top it all off with a dessert of sex from what are often trafficked women and underage girls. My stomach is turning and the nausea is inescapable – I think God uses these physical symptoms to get my attention.

In anticipation of this Indiana has just passed a human trafficking law that is much tougher and “extends the definition of sex trafficking and increases penalties” This is largely because of the work of Shared Hope International, an organization with a mission to “rescue and restore women and children in crisis. We are leaders in a worldwide effort to prevent and eradicate sex trafficking and slavery through education and public awareness.”  Leaders in the organization are thrilled that this law was passed in time for the Superbowl, sending a message to customers that they will be watched. There is still little awareness on the topic in the United States, perhaps because it’s often seen as an overseas problem, but that is far from the truth. I was happy to find the poster featured above – where are the posters in the United States? They should be present in every metropolitan area.

If there is one thing I know about you who read my blog – you are pro-women. From Blue Bras to Arranged Marriages to Mothering to Feminism – you are about women and who we are, who we can be.  So take a stand this Superbowl and let people know about this underbelly. Introduce them to Shared Hope International. Let’s all find out more and see what we can collectively do to make a difference. All the fuss this week about women? Let’s make it matter by focusing on an issue I’d like to think everyone could agree on.

Most of all, if you are a woman, know who you are before God so you can let others know who they are before God. Just as Jesus relentlessly pursued the woman who reached out to touch his clothes in the book of Matthew, so he is in a relentless pursuit of you. Just as he cried with Mary and Martha over the death of Lazarus, so he weeps with you. Just as he said “Your sins are forgiven!” to the woman caught in adultery, so does he the same for you.

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14 thoughts on “Beyond the Nachos – The Underbelly of the Superbowl

  1. This is something that I heard about the Olympics as well. We definitely need major prayer in this area as another huge Olympic year is upon us…


  2. I have never liked football, or any aspect of pro sports. I cannot think of one reason pro sports are beneficial to the good of humanity. I certainly was not aware of human trafficking, though I am not surprised. I will pass this on, but sadly, most people do not want to face the ugliness of so much of our sports industry.


    1. Thanks so much for passing this on. I remember when I first heard about sex trafficking and the Olympic Games and how shocked and saddened I was. You have some excellent points about the down side of the sports industry. Once it leaves the discipline, team work, and true sportsmanship of higschool and turns pro then big money is in charge.


    2. This issue is not unique to the sports industry. Business conferences are notorious for it as well. It’s another symptom of a fallen world.


  3. After your last post on this subject I became a contributor to IJM. An old problem that refuses to end, but needs the continued exposure you give it. As a side note – it’s not just women who become victims.


    1. I am so glad you said something about women not being the only victims – that is so true. Two people in NYC have been doing some research on this and the statistics are so troubling, partially because the focus is usually on girls and women. But one other thing they found that is equally troubling is how many were in the business as teens, willingly initially only to find they couldn’t leave. The healing and help in those cases is a whole different piece because they can’t look to an external source to blame. My heart feels really sad about this.


  4. I am not a football fan. It is extremely disturbing to learn that human trafficking is also connected to football. Often alcohol, drugs, and uncivil bahavior seem to go hand in hand with football. What has happened to humanity? I will pass this on.


    1. Petra – thanks so much for passing this on. In the wake of all the frantic talk of women this week, this has gotten lost and it’s so important. I should have done a much more in depth piece but….It’s a Saturday and I’m tired! The Olympic Games is another time when human trafficking is at a major high and goes unnoticed because of all the excitement over the Games. Thanks for reading my friend!


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