In recent years, the Super Bowl has become a magnet for sex trafficking, with ads for girls surging 300% during the days surrounding the event, including ads selling young girls as “Super Bowl Specials”
Klobuchar recently introduced legislation that would give prosecutors tools to crack down on domestic minor sex trafficking and ensure victims of these horrific crimes receive the support they need
As co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking, McCain has been a leader in raising awareness about child sex trafficking ahead of next year’s Super Bowl in Arizona
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Cindy McCain today met with representatives from the National Football League (NFL) to discuss efforts to crack down on sex trafficking ahead of this year’s Super Bowl in New Jersey. In recent years, the Super Bowl has become a magnet for sex trafficking, with ads for girls surging 300% during the days surrounding the event, including ads selling young girls as “Super Bowl Specials.” Klobuchar recently introduced legislation with Republican Senator John Cornyn that would give prosecutors tools to crack down on domestic minor sex trafficking and ensure victims of these horrific crimes receive the support they need. The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act is modeled after Minnesota’s “Safe Harbor” laws that help ensure minors sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as criminals but are instead treated as victims. As a co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking, McCain has been a leader in raising awareness about child sex trafficking ahead of next year’s Super Bowl in Arizona.
“We often think of human trafficking as a problem that occurs half a world away, but the reality is it’s happening in our own backyard, including at big events like the Super Bowl,” said Klobuchar. “That’s why Cindy and I asked the NFL to support strong sex trafficking laws, and I was pleased that they have made their support clear.”
“Year after year, we see a troubling surge of sex trafficking during the Super Bowl,” said McCain. “With the Super Bowl coming to Arizona next year, I’ll be working closely with legislators, law enforcement, and advocacy organizations to address this problem head-on and do everything we can to prevent and crack down on sex trafficking. Today’s meeting with Senator Klobuchar and the NFL was an important step forward in that effort.”
The Super Bowl has become one of the largest venues for sex trafficking in the country. A study of online escort ads at the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas found that ads increased almost 300% from a Saturday in mid-January to the Saturday before the Super Bowl. At the 2009 Super Bowl in Tampa, a sex trafficker was arrested and convicted for advertising two girls on Craigslist, one 14 and one 18, for $300 as “a Super Bowl special.”
There are more than 27 million people around the world victimized by trafficking each year. In Minnesota, recent reports indicate that on any given night dozens of underage girls are sold for sex online. The average age of a child when she first becomes a victim is just 13 years old.
Cindy McCain has been active in raising awareness about the problem of child sex trafficking through the McCain Institute for International Leadership, a think tank associated with Arizona State University. McCain also co-chairs the Arizona Governor's Task Force on Human Trafficking. In September 2013, the Task Force presented 27 recommendations to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, including 15 legislative recommendations such as treating kids who are victims of sex trafficking as victims rather than defendants, increasing penalties against johns, requiring ID to post adult service advertisements, and establishing a state commission.
Below is a summary of Klobuchar’s legislation.
The Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act (SETT):
- Includes a provision modeled after Minnesota’s “safe harbor” laws. The provision requires all states have a safe harbor provision to help ensure minors who are sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as defendants, but are instead treated as victims. When a state passes a safe harbor law, it means that kids sold for sex should be steered towards child protection services, rather than being arrested, charged, or convicted under a state’s criminal laws. Current federal law only suggests a model state statute – this bill will require that states have a safe harbor as a condition for receiving federal grants.
- Creates a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. The National Strategy will help coordinate efforts to investigate and prevent human trafficking between federal, state, local, and tribal agencies. This will help set clear goals and focus resources to help combat human trafficking. The bill will also encourage better data sharing between different law enforcement agencies.
- Allows victims of sex trafficking to participate in the Job Corps program to help them get back on their feet. Our Job Corps programs already help teen moms, runaways, and kids who drop out of school. This bill makes clear that victims of sex trafficking should be eligible for our current job training and skills building programs to help empower sex trafficking victims so that they have the tools they need to find a way out of the cycle.
- Helps victims pursue financial restitution and recover damages. In some parts of the law, victims of federal crimes can recover triple damages from people who harm them. Under this new bill, when sex trafficking victims sue their perpetrators, they’ll be able to get the damages they are due from the people who harmed them. The bill will also encourage better tracking of financial restitution orders so that victims can actually collect on the restitution they are due.
- Strengthens requirements for convicted sex trafficking offenders to be listed higher on the National Sex Offender Registry so they are reported and tracked closely to ensure they can’t victimize anyone else. Convicted offenders are classified into different Tiers, based on the severity of their crimes. The different Tier numbers correspond to how frequently a sex offender is required to report relevant personal information and make in-person appearances before law enforcement. Most sex trafficking offenders are currently convicted as Tier II criminals. The bill would reclassify those convicted of state or federal sex trafficking crimes into the more stringent Tier III. This means they must register for life and appear in person every 3 months to have a picture taken and verify registry information.
- Strengthens the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Right now, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline helps connect victims with services they need and passes on crime tips to law enforcement. This bill would make sure that the hotline is backed by the force of law. Although the Hotline operates with some federal authorization, this bill puts the National Human Trafficking Hotline on par with other national hotlines designed to serve victims.