Officials Launch Anti-Sex Trafficking Effort Ahead of Super Bowl

Riders step off a Metromover train and walk past large posters aimed at curbing sex trafficking, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, at the Metromover Knight Center Station in Miami. Authorities in Miami are launching the initiative in the events surrounding February’s Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Federal and South Florida law enforcement officials are preparing for Super Bowl LIV in a new way.

With tens of thousands of people projected to descend on the region for the game, the issue of sex trafficking is a top concern that authorities are determined to prevent at this year’s event.

With that in mind, officials will be enlisting regular people to report suspected sex trafficking activity, including that involving children as young as age 12, at party-type events during game week.

According to Miami-Dade state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, “We’re not going to tolerate the sexual exploitation of our children and our youth.” She adds, “We are really ready to head this off.”

The effort will include ads featuring a “creepy guy” poster with the words: “Buy Sex. Be Exposed.” Ads will also be placed on buses, social media, billboards, and at mass transit stations, among other locations.

A 24-hour phone number, (305) FIX-STOP, will allow people to report suspicious behavior.

Authorities say that Miami-Dade County ranks first in sex trafficking in the state, which ranks third in the nation. Nearly 40 percent of victims are children, while most of the remainder are between 18 and 23 years old.

Federal statistics reveal that victims are sometimes sold for sex up to 20 times each day. A trafficker can make between $150,000 and $200,000 per year for each person they sell for sex.

Kathy Andersen, executive director of The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade, says, “The Super Bowl does one thing for us — it gives us a platform to make noise. This is just the start of it.”

Super Bowl LIV will be played February 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.