November 01, 2017 12:35 PM
Super Bowl 52 is expected to attract thousands of people to the Twin Cities in more than just seven months.
However, some advocacy organizations say that hosting the event can also increase the amount of sex trafficking in the area. That's why a variety of organizations are working hard to raise awareness about issue prior to the game and festivities.
"It is a huge problem," Casey Schutrop, with the 42-7 PROJECT, said. "Many times it seems like such a huge, ominous problem. What do you do about it?"
On Thursday, the 42/7 PROJECT launched their campaign to bring awareness before, during and after the big game.
"42/7 means that every hour 42 children are trafficked, seven days a week," Schutrop said. "And we all know that everyone talks about the Super Bowl, well what's going to happen at the Super Bowl."
Terry Williams and the Women's Foundation of Minnesota agree it's a problem, but say the hype may be, "giving a false headline." That's why they joined a 40 member group and $1 million campaign to fight it.
But after commissioning a University of Minnesota research study on the realities of the Super Bowl, it found "the evidence does not support the claim that the Super Bowl creates large numbers of potential victims" and calls any impact "short lived".
"We hear that it's the single largest event that draws sex traffickers to a community and we were not hearing that from advocates in other communities," Williams said.
Regardless of what the actual number of sex trafficking incidents are, both agree that having the spotlight on the Twin Cities next February can help this epidemic.
"What we want to do is shine a bright light on the dark issue of human trafficking," Schutrop said.
As advocates against these crimes, they believe their campaigns will make a difference beyond the Super Bowl.
"We really can start to educate the public and really take it to the next level," Williams said.
The 2017 Super Bowl was located in Huston, Texas. KSTP contacted their police department, who says they made 21 prostitution-related arrests during the 10-day period.
Updated: November 01, 2017 12:35 PM
Created: June 29, 2017 08:30 PM
Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company