Super Bowl week is in full swing here in North Texas. ESPN is broadcasting live from Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth. Kids of all ages are enjoying the NFL Experience at the Dallas Convention Center. Cowboys Stadium has been sold out for what many believe will be the most highly attended Super Bowl in history. The traffic around North Texas is going to be terrible for the next week. But there is another kind of trafficking that is taking place as well.
This past Thursday evening, I had the opportunity to moderate a panel discussion at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on the issue of sex trafficking. Each year sex traffickers enslave 100,000 to 300,000 young girls and boys in forced prostitution. Within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, 250 boys and girls are bought and sold each month. Now that Super Bowl week is here in North Texas, that number is expected to increase exponentially. It is estimated that 12,000 minors will be transported to the metroplex and forced into prostitution during the days and weeks surrounding the big game.
For many people, the idea of sex trafficking seems foreign—in more ways than one. It is not common dinner conversation at the local restaurant to consider the implications of this horrendous crime. In addition, many Americans consider it to be a foreign problem happening in third world countries on the other side of the globe. Unfortunately, this sex trafficking is occurring right in front of us, and we may not even recognize it.
During the panel discussion last week, our eyes were opened to the devastating practice of domestic sex trafficking in the United States. The point of the discussion was to raise awareness among our students and hopefully to generate some constructive responses for how our churches can respond to this issue.
A local resource in the DFW area dealing with this issue is Traffick911, a non-profit organization seeking to raise awareness and provide a means of escape for those caught in this industry. They have been working on a campaign called, “I’m Not Buying It,” and have enlisted the help of local and national celebrities, including Dallas Cowboys NT Jay Ratliff, former New England Patriot Kevin Wyman, and Christian recording artist Natalie Grant. You can check out their public service announcements and other resources on their website at www.traffick911.com.
You can find other resources on this issue at www.losethechains.com, and you can read an article about the panel discussion here. Take a few minutes to look at these resources and see how you can make a difference to stop this practice.