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Running Head: Do Public Sporting Events Attract Human Trafficking 1

Do Public Sporting Events Attract Human Trafficking

Simon M. Munn

James Madison University

March 2018
Do Public Sporting Events Attract Human Trafficking 2

Abstract

My research question is whether or not public sporting events, such as the world cup and the

super bowl, attract sex traffickers. My reason for choosing this topic comes from hearing a story

from one of my teachers back in high school about how one of her friends was almost abducted

in college. I suppose hearing about it from someone I knew made the problem a bit more real to

me. The nature of human trafficking is a relevant issue as this is present and prevalent crime in

across the world and can affect people of any background.


Do Public Sporting Events Attract Human Trafficking 3

Sex trafficking is one the greatest violations of human rights today, being a form of

modern day slavery. Along with concerns of how this impacts those who are victimized it is also

a current and prevalent issue today with around 800,000 people are trafficked across borders

every year. As such it is important to understand how an environment may accommodate this

crime to combat it.

My first source was ‘There are a lot of new people in town: but they are here for soccer,

not for business’ a qualitative inquiry into the impact of the 2010 soccer world cup on sex work

in South Africa’, by Marlise L Richter, Fiona Scorgie, Matthew F Chersich and Stanley Luchters.

The goal of this article was to investigate the impact of the 2010 South Africa world cup on sex

workers. The article seems to be meant for academics and officials on the issue of sex trafficking

given its use of APA format, which gives it a very official feel, and labeling under globalization

and health. The research of the article focused primarily on collecting the first-hand accounts of

various sex workers, most of which implied no significant changes during the 2010 world cup.

The bigger problem for sex workers during the world cup actually came from law enforcement

officials harassing them and their clients. One first-hand account from an interview sex worker

implies that the police are attempting to hide them from the public during the world cup. This

source gave some decent evidence supporting my stance, which is great since I did need more to

work with than what I already had. Although I had previously heard of how police enforcement

during the world cup could harm sex workers, I had not considered this sort of purposeful

harassment.
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The purpose of the second article I’ll be using is to show that there is in fact a greater risk

of sex trafficking during sporting events, such as the Superbowl, and to show that sex trafficking

in general is an issue in the united states. Laura J. runs a nonprofit organization which is

dedicated to helping sex workers and trafficked victims. I chose this article as it provides an

opposing viewpoint to my stance. There seems to be some evidence for sex trafficking at

sporting events that I was not formerly aware of. This information will help in strengthening my

arguments and presenting new issues the I had not previously considered. The article (2013)

states that “Lederer said her nonprofit group targets the patrons of prostitution, because if the law

went after prostitutes only, there would “always be more victims to replace them.” This shows

that there is a unifying stance between the two articles in a desire to help the victims of sex

trafficking, however they may differ in their view of how to approach it. However, I’m far more

interested in the counterargument which this article bring up in its statement, (2013)“… experts

estimate that for Super Bowl XLIV in Miami—ironically, won by the Saints—about

10,000 prostitutes descended on south Florida. Officials also know that the volume

of Web site solicitations shoots up during the week of major sporting events.” This

showed me that I have more to research about this topic, given the compelling numbers listed

here. The biggest weakness of this article for my purposes it that while the article does present

evidence to sex trafficking being connected to sporting events, this does not appear to be the

central focus of the article, instead, the article speaks more generally on the subject of trafficking

and prostitution.

In January of 2015 R. Finkel and M.L. Finkel published “The ‘dirty downside’ of global

sporting events: focus on human trafficking for sexual exploitation”, an article which took on the
Do Public Sporting Events Attract Human Trafficking 5

issue of sex trafficking’s elusive nature today and its relationship with sporting events from a

perspective concerned with the implications on public health. The article seems to be meant for

academics given its official APA format. In this source, as well as the previous, the focus here,

while relating to, is not solely on trying to prove a connection between trafficking and sporting

events, however, in this case that actually serves as a positive. The article’s insight into the

health implications of sex trafficking gives a perspective that my research so far has been lacking.

Findings have shown that violence and sexually transmitted diseases and very prevalent among

trafficked women. Also, sex trafficking in presumed to be the fastest growing business of

organized crime. The article makes an interesting point in saying It is very difficult to prove a

connection between sex trafficking and sporting events due to the “elusive and clandestine

nature of the industry”, in fact, according to R. Finkel and M.L. Finkel (2015) “Quantifying human

trafficking for sexual exploitation at large global sporting events has proven to be elusive given

the clandestine nature of the industry.” One of the reasons I have been having trouble finding

any sources with evidence indicating sex trafficking at sporting events may be due to the elusive

nature which this article talks about. This claim seems to discount the first article’s stance that

sporting events do not attract sex trafficking as it gives a compelling reason as to why there

seems to be a considerable lack of evidence towards the contrary. R. Finkel and M.L. Finkel

(2015) “It almost certainly exists, but to what extent is the big question. It is a hidden problem

on a global scale in plain view with tremendous public health implications.” this is a very neutral

point in relation to the other two articles, but a very important one nonetheless, and one that,

while not arguing for or against the others, works well with them. Despite this article’s
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usefulness in its perspective and information, it still does not seem to take an especially strong

stance one way or the other, although it does seem to lean more towards a connection between

sporting events and sex trafficking than not. For this reason I do have worries about whether I’ll

have enough to work with from this article.

Although I have not really been moved from my prior stance on the issue, I still feel that

there is not much of a relation between sex trafficking and sporting events, hearing these

contrary thoughts on the issue have made me reconsider it. At this point I can say that I am more

willing to concede that sporting events present an environment wherein sex trafficking may be

more likely. I plan to support my initial stance that sex trafficking and sporting events are

unrelated, but I will make sure to look into the counterarguments brought up by the other

articles I feel that my research has been fairly effective. I have acquired more information, some

of which conflicts with my previously held notions on the issue. I will also search for videos

speaking on this specific subject and incorporate them if I can find them. Otherwise I will look in

other databases and other sources of information.


Do Public Sporting Events Attract Human Trafficking 7

Works Cited

Finkel, R., & Finkel, M. (2015). The ‘dirty downside’ of global sporting events: Focus on human
trafficking for sexual exploitation. Public Health, 129(1), 17-22.
doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2014.11.006

Anonymous. (2013, February 04). Sexual Slavery: A Not-So-Super Side of the Super Bowl.
Retrieved March 21, 2018, from https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/sexual-slavery-
not-so-super-side-super-bowl

Finkel, R., & Finkel, M. (2015). The ‘dirty downside’ of global sporting events: Focus on human
trafficking for sexual exploitation. Public Health, 129(1), 17-22.
doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2014.11.006