I’ve been a Steelers fan since I came out of the womb. Literally.
When the Steelers are in the Super Bowl, it’s one of those things you just can’t take for granted. Especially after this crazy season. Losing our quarterback for the first 4 games, overcoming so many injuries, yet still being able to compete for the Lombardi trophy is simply awesome. I know what snacks I’m making for the Super Bowl party and I’m planning on wearing the exact same outfit on Super Bowl Sunday that I wore for the AFC Championship game. Superstitious? Of course. That’s how we roll in the ‘burgh during football season.
It goes without saying that I’m excited about the Super Bowl…
…but I had no idea it was a prime venue for sex traffickers.
No, I’m not kidding.
I remember reading so much about sex trafficking during the World Cup in South Africa last year. But I would have never imagined that would happen right here, at our nation’s biggest event. And it’s not the first time, either.
Maybe I’m naive. It’s okay, I can admit that.
But I can’t be the only person who has heard about sex trafficking and thought that it’s not common here. It wouldn’t happen here. It can’t possibly happen here.
It is common here, and it does happen here. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, approximately 250,000 youth are exploited into sex trafficking, with the average age of entry for female prostitues between 12 and 14 years. Additionally, 14,500-17,500 girls are smuggled into the United States for sex trafficking (source).
It’s one of those things that we think we shouldn’t talk about. That seems taboo. That we don’t want to talk about. But ignoring it doesn’t help the situation. We’ve got to be educated.
It’s not easy being a Debbie Downer on Super Bowl weekend. Yes, I’m thrilled that my Steelers are in the Super Bowl. Yes, I’ll be wearing my black and gold with pride. Yes, I’ll be cheering them on and hoping to see that 7th Lombardi trophy travel to Heinz Field when it’s all said and done.
Yes, I’m excited about the Super Bowl.
But I can’t pretend like our nation and our world isn’t plagued by sex trafficking. I can’t ignore the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of youth in our nation and in nations across the globe being exploited and having their childhood stolen from them.
I can’t go on thinking that it’s not here. Because it is.
So yes, I’ll be waving my terrible towel tomorrow. But I’ll also be praying for the sex trafficking victims in Dallas. Atlanta. New York. Los Angeles. In small towns and bigger cities across the United States. And in Europe and Asia, too.
It’s truly the least I can do.