Klobuchar, Cindy McCain ask NFL to make sex trafficking control a specific part of Super Bowl site selection

  • Article by: JIM SPENCER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 3, 2014 - 1:15 PM

Sen. Klobuchar asks NFL to make battling trafficking of minors a part of criteria for choosing cities for title game.

hide

Sens. Amy Klobuchar

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– When the National Football League decides where to have the Super Bowl, it weighs everything from stadium seats to hotel rooms to transportation to security systems.

Now, just as Minnesota is making its own bid for a Super Bowl, Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants the NFL to consider another selection element: local efforts to thwart the sex trafficking of minors that often accompany such major events.

Making the fight against sex trafficking a specific consideration, if not a criterion, for picking a Super Bowl site is no modest proposal. In a recent meeting with senior NFL officials, Klobuchar, a Democrat, was joined by Cindy McCain, the wife of Arizona Sen. John McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate.

“We just told them we thought that would be a good idea [to ask about sex trafficking enforcement],” Klobuchar said in an interview. “There are other major events as well that can bring out sex trafficking. But this is the one that we’re focused on because of the fact that we’ve seen these increases before with the event.”

It is difficult to quantify how much sex trafficking the Super Bowl attracts. Klobuchar points to a 2011 study in Dallas that showed a 272 percent increase in “escort” ads in the weeks leading up to the game, as well as ads at the 2009 Super Bowl in Tampa that marketed 14- and 18-year-old girls for “Super Bowl Specials.” Others have said that prostitution arrests surrounding the weeklong celebration and game have been relatively modest, numbering in the low hundreds and certainly no more than other major events, including political conventions.

The NFL has been polite but noncommittal about making sex trafficking enforcement a separate part of its Super Bowl selection process.

The league supports strong laws against sex trafficking and more enforcement resources, said its vice president of public relations, Brian McCarthy. In September, it hosted a meeting with an FBI unit charged with fighting violent crimes against children. But the league has not decided whether to add a distinct sex trafficking criteria to the Super Bowl selection process.

“We were presented with that request recently and will review it as part of an overall assessment of law enforcement readiness in potential cities.” McCarthy said in an e-mail.

Klobuchar has a bill in the Senate modeled after Minnesota’s state law, which treats minors involved in sex trafficking as victims instead of criminals and which gives prosecutors more power to charge those who exploit them. Klobuchar sees NFL involvement in the overall fight against trafficking as delicate but doable.

“This is different than them coming out and saying they want to fight breast cancer,” she acknowledged, “because it is about law enforcement.”

“It is true that it’s not their players that are doing it,” she said. “That’s really important to get out there. But it is something that is associated with big events, the Super Bowl being the biggest of all big events.”

The senator said she requested the meeting with NFL Senior Vice President Adolpho Birch and Amy Jorgensen, the league’s manager of government relations and public policy, “because Cindy McCain was having trouble getting a meeting with them.”

Raising awareness

Cindy McCain, who co-chairs the Arizona Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking, hopes to raise awareness about child sex trafficking and pass a state law ahead of the 2015 Super Bowl in Phoenix. She thinks the NFL should make strong anti-trafficking laws a criterion for any city getting the Super Bowl.

“I think [the NFL] had not come to terms with how to handle this,” she said of her initial trouble in getting a meeting with the league. “Events like the Super Bowl cause human trafficking to ping up. It becomes part of the fiber of the event. We’re not accusing players, but we need their help. People look up to them.”

The acceptance of prostitution is somewhat ingrained in the United States, said Lauren Martin, who directs research at the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research Outreach-Engagement Center. Martin has interviewed dozens of women and children involved in the sex trade.

“We have hundreds of years of cultural experience that this is a victimless crime between two consenting adults,” Martin said.

Trying to distinguish sex trafficking of minors from prostitution in general can be difficult, she said, noting that people believe women are either physically forced into prostitution or willingly choose to sell their bodies.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 6:00 PM
Indiana
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Detroit
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
Miami
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Chicago 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Arizona 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Tampa Bay 6:30 PM
Carolina
Dallas 6:30 PM
Montreal
Detroit 6:30 PM
Florida
Colorado 7:00 PM
Nashville
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Calgary
Minnesota 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Ball State 6:00 PM
Akron
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
Western Mich 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Ohio 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Xavier 6:00 PM
Georgetown
Vanderbilt 6:00 PM
Georgia
West Virginia 6:00 PM
Kansas State
Central Mich 6:00 PM
Kent State
Saint Josephs 6:00 PM
La Salle
Nebraska 6:00 PM
Michigan
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Toledo
Tulsa 6:00 PM
Tulane
George Washington 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Pittsburgh 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Indiana State 7:00 PM
Evansville
Tabor College 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Florida 8:00 PM
Alabama
Tennessee 8:00 PM
Arkansas
Texas A&M 8:00 PM
Auburn
Baylor 8:00 PM
Oklahoma State
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 8:00 PM
Utah State
Fresno State 8:05 PM
San Diego St
UNLV 9:00 PM
Nevada
SD Christian 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Colorado State 10:00 PM
Boise State
Temple 6:00 PM
UCF
Campbell 6:00 PM
Presbyterian
Coastal Carolina 6:00 PM
High Point
Gardner-Webb 6:00 PM
Radford
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
Liberty
Winthrop 6:00 PM
Longwood
Columbia International 6:00 PM
Charleston Southern
Tulane 7:00 PM
Houston
(3) Baylor 7:00 PM
TCU
Navy 7:00 PM
American Univ
Valparaiso 7:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close