3 Ways Tampa is Fighting Human Trafficking During Super Bowl 2021
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3 Ways Tampa is Fighting Human Trafficking During Super Bowl 2021

3 Ways Tampa is Fighting Human Trafficking During Super Bowl 2021

It’s an exciting time to live in Tampa, despite the current pandemic. New restaurants line the sidewalks downtown. The RiverwalkΒ offers opportunities to breathe in the fresh air, walk, run, bike or paddle. The weather right now is some of the best we have all year, and who can forget our sports teams? The Lightning won the Stanley Cup. The Rays are American League champions and went to the World Series. Oh, and how about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the Super Bowl for the first time in 18 years, AND they’re the first NFL team to play at a home stadium! Tampa is thriving.

Yet, with all the fantastic things happening in Tampa and around Florida, the abuse, exploitation, and trafficking of vulnerable people and children is a real and heartbreaking issue prevalent throughout this state.

 

Florida has the third-highest rate of human trafficking cases reported across the country in 2019 (behind California first and Texas second)*. Tampa ranks 12th of all American cities for the number of calls per capita to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (Polaris).**

With such startling statistics and the Super Bowl around the corner, I wanted to find out more about what Tampa is doing to raise awareness. I also wanted to explore what information I could pass along, regardless of where you live, to help our communities assist in this fight.

What is Tampa doing locally?

Here are a few things I found:

What can you do to get involved and help?

Whether you live in Tampa, Florida, or throughout the United States, it’s essential to learn the facts and know-how to assist your local community best.

“Although human trafficking occurs 365 days of the year, it’s important to mobilize a coordinated response to address the issue during large sporting events like the Super Bowl.” EHN Atlanta advocate Melba Robinson responded. “Empower Her Network cares about the lives that may be impacted by the Super Bowl and are ready to be a part of the solution. We encourage everyone to get involved in the following ways:”

  • Learn about the warning signs
  • Strengthen your community by letting others know how the Super Bowl, and larger sporting events, can affect the lives of others
  • Raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking
  • If you would like to “speak,” conduct a training session in conjunction with a local non-profit specializing in human trafficking efforts
  • Become involved with organizations that are doing the work to address human trafficking

“These are only a few things one can do to get involved, but every little bit helps,” said Robinson.

I hope that one day everyone can enjoy the same beauty and opportunities around Tampa as most of us can, without pain or fear. It’s a significant task. And while this is an on-going effort, taking the initiative to learn, get involved, and spread critical information to others, is an essential first step.

What questions do you have? Are there any tips that you’d recommend that we should add to our list?

Please visit our website to learn more about Empower Her Network, and how we assist human trafficking survivors. Or connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter, to continue the conversation.

Sources

*Florida has the third-highest rate of human trafficking cases / **Tampa ranks 12th of all American cities