It’s the kickoff ahead of the kickoff.
What You Need To Know
- 44 human trafficking arrests were made during last year’s Super Bowl
- This year’s game will be played in Tampa on February 7
- Education campaign planned about spotting the signs of human trafficking
- More Hillsborough County headlines
“When someone says, ‘I want to steal your wallet or steal your car,’ that’s awful. When someone says, ‘I’m going to steal that young person’s life,’ that’s disgusting,” said Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport.
Super Bowl LV in Tampa is just weeks away, and with the excitement, could come an uptick in crime.
“We know, regardless of whether there is a decrease in actual in-person attendance that travel through the airport, law enforcement has warned will increase and will also increase the market for human trafficking in the Tampa Bay area,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.
During last year’s Super Bowl, 44 arrests were made, ultimately saving 22 lives from sex trafficking.
It’s an issue that has become common each year wherever the host city may be.
Florida @AGAshleyMoody speaks about human trafficking ahead of the super bowl, which is happening in Tampa this year. It is a collaborative effort to tackle the issue, which tends to spike surrounding large events. @BN9 pic.twitter.com/fk0O1gCiUG
— Ashley Paul (@AshleyPaulTV) January 6, 2021
That’s why the airport, in collaboration with several organizations, is putting up signs, and other organizations, such as the Pasco County Commission on Human Trafficking is putting out PSAs.
“So when people travel to large events like a Super Bowl, they may come intending to party it up, live it up, and do things they might not typically do in their hometowns, which might include buying sex,” said Stephanie Vazquez, vice chair of the Pasco County Commission on Human Trafficking.
They will be putting warnings on buses, billboards, and around town to let people know the signs to look for.
“If they’re with a controlling person, so somebody who is with them who seems to be controlling their behaviors, their words, their identification, holding their money, that’s a clear indicator that some level of exploitation is taking place,” said Vazquez.
And most importantly, if you suspect something might be off, call 1-888-373-7888.
It could help save a life.