What does the Super Bowl have to do with human trafficking?

The answer: Very little. But this momentous sporting event presents an opportunity to shine an important spotlight on the most egregious human rights violation of our time.

By Kristy J. O’Hara and Jesse Eaves, World Vision U.S.
Published January 30, 2014 at 09:45am PST

Each year, the excitement for the big game seems to be matched by a shrill alarm: the outcry by politicians, law enforcement, and the media, that the event will create a spontaneous boom in sex trafficking.

This year is no different. It’s a compelling story, and it could contain some truth. But there is no evidence to suggest sex or labor trafficking increases for big sporting events.

Rather, sex and labor slavery exists every day in every country in the world.

Modern-day slavery will persist unless we stop talking about it once a year and work every day to end it. As you prepare for parties, junk food, and possibly yelling at the television, please also prepare your heart in prayer for people around the world impacted by this criminal activity.

Pray for protection for vulnerable people

There are more than 20 million slaves in the world today, including in the United States. That’s more slaves than any other time in human history.

Children are estimated to make up almost half that number. Most are tricked into it, and some are simply taken. Some are sold for sex but even more are placed in labor slavery like debt bondage.

Pray for all these vulnerable people.

Lord, we ask protection on those who are at risk for trafficking. Place your arms around them and keep them from the people, places, and circumstances that could lead to their enslavement. And for those men, women, boys, and girls who are already enslaved, give them strength to endure each day and speak Your truth to their hearts. Put people in their paths to help them escape. Take away their fears of retribution so they have courage to trust people willing to help them.

Pray for local authorities and others to help those enslaved

After the Super Bowl location was announced, New Jersey authorities began implementing training programs and precautions to mitigate the risk of trafficking at the Super Bowl. That’s good — but what about the rest of the year? Trafficking doesn’t stop when the final whistle blows, and law enforcement officials can’t take all the responsibility.

Pray that more people have eyes to see trafficking situations and the courage to intercede.

Creator God, You’ve made each of us in Your image. Give us more of Your compassion and love this weekend and beyond, so that all of us — law enforcement and government officials, business people, and neighbors — might recognize those in distress and intercede on their behalf.

Learn more

Read more about World Vision’s global efforts to prevent child trafficking, abuse, exploitation, and neglect.

Another way you can help

Make a one-time donation to help provide safety for formerly exploited children. Your gift will help build a safe, secure environment and prevent further exploitation. With interventions like vocational training, education, counseling, and even livestock, you’ll help give a second chance to an abused child.