Sex trafficking sting operation in Arizona during Super Bowl leads to multiple arrests

Sex trafficking sting operation in Arizona during Super Bowl leads to multiple arrests
Sex trafficking sting operation in Arizona during Super Bowl leads to multiple arrests

A Valley-wide policing sting in opposition to intercourse trafficking during the Super Bowl led to multiple arrests, whereas analysis exhibits no robust connection between these huge occasions and an increase in intercourse victims.

The Phoenix Police Division launched a report on Feb. 20 that multiple companies throughout the valley made 48 felony and 300 misdemeanor arrests during a crackdown on intercourse trafficking. The push started as a response to expectations that the Super Bowl, the Waste Administration Phoenix Open, and the Barret-Jackson Auto Public sale can be magnets for sex-trafficking.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego anticipated 1,000,000 guests strolling via downtown. The day after the Super Bowl, Phoenix Sky Harbor noticed more than 200,000 visitors heading house, the very best variety of vacationers in someday.

The inflow of individuals meant elevated policing throughout the valley and downtown Phoenix, the place most pre-game occasions occurred. In accordance to reporting by Entrance Web page Confidential, reciepts present the state spent $1.5 million in August 2022 with thr advertising firm, Lavidge, to dispense the concept that these giant occasions would increase sex trafficking.

The report by the Phoenix Police Division acknowledged that “these occasions draw giant can create a much bigger marketplace for human trafficking and prostitution associated actions.”

Although there is perhaps an increase in advertisements for intercourse and elevated police presence, a report put collectively by Annie Hill on the College of Texas at Austin and Lauren Martin on the College of Minnesota, Twin Cities, refutes that there’s any robust hyperlink between these giant occasions _ particularly Super Bowls _ and a rise in intercourse trafficking.

In accordance to the report, though the proof “doesn’t counsel that main sporting occasions trigger trafficking for sexual exploitation,” they discovered that 76% of U.S. print media between 2010 to 2016 “propagated the ‘Super Bowl intercourse trafficking’ narrative.”

”The media tends to sensationalize trafficking, emphasize rescue and join trafficking with industrial intercourse and sexual exploitation solely,” the report learn.

In an op-ed in The Republic, McCain Institute Senior Director for Combatting Human Trafficking Kristen Abrams and Director of Congressional Affairs at Worldwide Justice Mission Nate King clarify these kinds of emphasizes could cause individuals to falsely consider that human trafficking solely, or principally, takes place round main sporting occasions.

Beforehand:Campaign to call attention to human trafficking spotlighted by Super Bowl, NFL players

Out of the 24 companies concerned in the intercourse trafficking sting, the Phoenix Police Division took the lead in the investigation. Contributors included:

  • Phoenix Police Division

  • Glendale Police Division

  • Mesa Police Division

  • Tempe Police Division

  • Chandler Police Division

  • Peoria Police Division

  • Shock Police Division

  • Scottsdale Police Division

  • United States Marshals Service

  • Arizona Anti-Trafficking Community

  • Phoenix Kids’s Hospital

  • Thoughts 24/7 Queen Creek

  • Police Division

  • Goodyear Police Division

  • Arizona Division of Public Security

  • Arizona Lawyer Normal Workplace

  • Arizona Counter Terrorism Data Heart

  • Homeland Safety Investigations

  • DHS Heart for Countering Human Trafficking

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation

  • United States Customs and Border Safety,

  • Division of Little one Providers

  • Nationwide Heart for Lacking and Exploited Kids

  • Worldwide Affiliation of Human Trafficking Investigators

The price of this multi-agency investigation stays unclear. The outcomes weren’t.

Except for the 48 felony arrests, police made 300 misdemeanor arrests; 120 had been “intercourse consumers,” and at the very least 35 of these had been for prostitution, in accordance to Glendale Police Division.

Data on the opposite misdemeanors has not been launched by Phoenix police or any of the opposite companies concerned. Different departments responded that they may not touch upon the kind of arrests on open investigations.

It’s unclear if defining 120 as “intercourse consumers” meant that the remaining misdemeanors had been for “intercourse sellers.”

A minimum of 14 of the felony arrests got here out of makes an attempt to have intercourse with minors, in accordance to Glendale and Phoenix police departments.

Court docket data present that at the very least a few of these arrests had been accomplished via undercover stings.

A minimum of seven of the 48 felony instances have been referred to the Maricopa County Lawyer’s Workplace for prosecution.

The Arizona Lawyer Normal’s workplace obtained different instances however acknowledged that it could not touch upon open investigations.

Out there courtroom data for six of the felony defendants charged with making an attempt to solicit intercourse from minors and adults present that they had been all males, ranging in age from 19 to 60 years outdated. All had been locals, dwelling in Arizona.

Police mentioned 5 minors and one grownup sufferer had been faraway from crime scenes however couldn’t verify if the Arizona Division of Little one Security took them into care.

Police didn’t remark when requested how they differentiate between “intercourse employees” and “intercourse victims.”

On the streets, those that have had expertise working with intercourse employees and different marginalized teams oppose the jumbling of these phrases.

Arlene Mahoney, govt director at Southwest Restoration Alliance a non-profit group targeted on HCV and HIV prevention and elimination, defined that “conflating intercourse trafficking with intercourse work confuses the general public, who already might or might not have detrimental views round intercourse employees.”

She and plenty of others protested the rise in policing during these giant occasions on Feb. 6. They known as for an finish to criminalizing intercourse work.

Mahoney defined that when individuals selecting to work as intercourse employees are entered into the felony justice system, they lose entry to housing, employment and generally their kids, pushing them additional into hurt.

In the end the hype round sex-trafficking during the Super Bowl distorts what drives intercourse trafficking and punishes these working to survive, she defined.

King and Abrams defined that there are greater elements contributing to will increase in intercourse trafficking than marquis sporting occasions, together with the pandemic, poverty, meals insecurity, homelessness and discrimination.

“Sex-workers do not want rescuing, they want rights,” Mahoney mentioned.

This text initially appeared on Arizona Republic: Multiple arrests made in sex trafficking sting during Super Bowl

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