Last week was one of the greatest events of the year…the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl use to be surrounded with parties, lots of bad for you food, and a healthy competition between whose team is best. Although I have to admit, I know very little about football, I always loved this day.
But this year was different.
Working with an anti-trafficking organization, there are certain expectations, rules, and new understanding. And the Super Bowl…well that has taken on a new idea. My newsfeeds starting blowing up with articles surrounding the topic of The Super Bowl and trafficking. Everyone wanted to talk about it, each person having their own opinion, sometimes an opinion that lacked understanding.
So, I rebelled. I internally became passive-aggressive. I can give you a million reason why, some completely illogical, but here are a few:
I was angry that suddenly everyone was “aware” and it became their cause.
I was angry because I knew once it was over, or in this case once everyone watched Bruno Mars, everyone would forget about the “cause.”
I was angry because we’ll spend hundreds of dollars on parties and events, but I have to worry about how fund the “cause.”
But, mainly, I was angry because instead of talking about trafficking, we were talking about who’s right – The Super Bowl is the biggest event for trafficking vs. it’s a myth that the Super Bowl is the biggest event.
So…I was angry, in that keep it secret in the back of your mind way. And, I responded by ignoring it, avoiding it, pretending it wasn’t happening.
But, my world was shaken to reality on Friday. A call forced me to wake-up from my passive(externally)-aggressive(internally) stance, and respond.
I received a call from someone who had “heard about us” and didn’t know what else to do. A woman had been picked up in New York and was now needing safety and shelter. A family member had a friend who had a … you get the point…that said they should call us and maybe we could help.
I found myself in what appeared to be an impossible situation, working with several different states, several different agencies, hoping to find the right fit.
That wasn’t the real lesson, though. As we were working with this family, a few things were reinforced:
First, because of all the awareness that was going on surrounding The Super Bowl, law enforcement viewed situations differently. Instead of assuming, they asked questions and immediately was able to recognize as trafficking. They got her help quickly, contacted her family, and provided her with safety. Would they have responded differently without the awareness? I can’t speculate, but I know it can’t hurt.
Second, although, I can’t tell you what the statistics are surrounding how many more cases there are, etc. I can tell you in this case she was recruited for a specific purpose. It may be just one isolated situation, but for me it’s reason enough to take notice.
Finally, although I know it’s happening everywhere, all the time, what bothers me about sporting events (or any other big draw) is that it is being sold as part of the experience. People have become a commodity to buy, along with jersey’s, hats, and banners. It sounds so shocking and disturbing, yet it doesn’t hinder it.
So, I can know longer set idly by. I can’t let indifference, or passive-aggressiveness take over.
I have to respond, because this one girl was worth it!