Super Bowl Sunday is notorious for many things, but the food-filled football fest has a darker side that is garnering publicity. Sex trafficking of underage girls is expected to increase dramatically during the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 6th, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.
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In January, according to the Dallas News, “the Dallas Women’s Foundation released a study…that says 250 underage girls are victims of sex trafficking in North Texas, a number that child advocates say will increase exponentially during the Super Bowl.” The study reports that over 740 girls are exploited across Texas annually.
However, these estimates are likely on the low end. Lyssa Jenkens told Dallas News, “It could be twice as high.” The study was based off of online ads and escort services and did not include data for underage girls working on the streets or “massage parlors.” The Dallas Women’s Foundation plans to repeat the study in February and August in the hopes that the data will lead to harsher punishments for those who solicit underage girls.
“The foundation also announced a $1 million donation to help build the Letot Girls’ Residential Treatment Center in Dallas — the only residential program in Texas serving trafficking victims and runaways at high risk of being exploited, officials said.
[President and CEO of the Dallas Women's Foundation, Becky] Sykes said about $2 million of $8.7 million has been raised.
The facility would accommodate 96 girls and will be the largest of only a handful of residential facilities across the nation.
The center will be an extension of the programs at the existing Dallas County Letot Center, which provides short-term treatment and shelter for high-risk girls and victims between the ages of 13-17.”
The statistics have been sobering. While the rest of the country eats chips and dip and watches million dollar commercials, there will be a whole contingent of young girls exploited across Texas, and most likely across the entire nation.
Photo thanks to Justin Russell