Folks in Arlington expect Superbowl XLV to mean big business. But, so do human traffickers.
According to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, host cities of major sporting events often see an increase in the tens-of-thousands of young women and children, mostly brought in for the sex trade. That's why Abbott convened the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force in Arlington this week.
The goal is to help law enforcement agencies and human rights groups throughout the state prepare for the onslaught of traffickers. Abbott said traffickers are becoming more bold, utilizing rented busses, city cabs and the Internet to rake in their customers.
"One trafficker advertised, in Tampa Bay," said Abbott, referring to Superbowl XLIII, "a $300 Superbowl special on Craig's List. The special included two females, one of which was a 14 year-old girl."
Law enforcement agencies throughout the region will be asked to help fight the problem. But, specific plans haven't been implemented by the task force.
Carl Rusnok, a spokesman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said there are signs everyone throughout the region can, however, be on the look out for. Rusnok said victims are often held captive for months, even years. And, victims are often conditioned to be secretive, so traffickers are difficult to spot.
Signs to watch for, said Rusnok, include people kept inside often and who are hidden from company, immigrants without documentation, and young women and children with signs of abuse.
If you suspect any form of human trafficking, you can contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or US Immigration and Customs Enforcement at 1-866-347-2423.