While the Super Bowl showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., is attracting millions of eyes to the gridiron, the mega-encounter is once again bringing much-needed attention to the issue of human trafficking.
Caroline Diemar is director of the National Human Trafficking Hotline at Polaris, an anti-human trafficking nonprofit that provides data to explore and inform trends in the matter. Part of her job includes clearing up claims such as the long-held belief that the Super Bowl contributes to an increase in sex trafficking.
“We actually haven't seen a significant increase in reports to the National Human Trafficking Hotline around the Super Bowl or really any other large event,” Diemar told Fox News. “Instead, we're seeing an incredible amount of awareness, which is bringing great attention to the issue of human trafficking and might cause a slight uptick in reports to the trafficking hotline, but we don't consider that actually indicative of an increase in trafficking occurring at the Super Bowl.”
Diemar said that, due to the increased awareness, a larger number of people and institutions tend to invest more in resources to combat human trafficking around the Super Bowl. Law enforcement officials in Miami have reportedly warned hotel workers, ride-hailing service drivers and security personnel to be especially alert during the Super Bowl weekend.
According to Polaris, Florida ranks third in the nation for reported calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-3737-888), a telephone service in which professionals can evaluate a given situation or specific scenario.
The organization told Fox News that the high response in Florida is a direct reflection of the education and awareness efforts from the nearly two dozen human trafficking coalitions and task forces in the Sunshine State.
Diemar explained that it is important to “know the story and the behaviors that people experience when it comes to trafficking.” She said it is not necessarily about how a potential victim was dressed, for example, but checking if the person's behaviors or movements are highly controlled.
“Additionally, we don't recommend that individuals necessarily go up to a potential trafficking victim or survivor and offer them help,” Diemar said. “We don't know the situation of what is actually occurring at that time, and so for everyone's safety, specifically the potential survivor’s safety, we don't encourage people to go up to them unless they know it is a is safe for both individuals to do that.”
For more information on human trafficking during the Super Bowl, watch Caroline Diemar’s full interview above.