A study published this week by Carnegie Mellon University’s Auton Lab shows that major sporting events aren’t the only top draws for sex-trafficking and prostitution activity in the U.S. The study looked at more than 32 million personal ads (such as “new-in-town” and “escort” ads) around 33 significant public events in North America since late 2011. They then examined what percentage of those personal ads seemed to be related to sex trafficking. What researchers learned is that spikes in personal ads typically related (by key words such as “young girls” and “no pimps”) to suspect sex-trafficking activity can be correlated to non-sports events and sports events alike. In addition to the Super Bowl, World Series and other sports spectaculars, other suspected sex-trafficking related events include two annual Memorial Day motorcycle gatherings in Myrtle Beach S.C. (the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Rally and the BikeFest); the Oracle OpenWorld Convention in San Francisco in October; the annual Consumer Electronics Show; and the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) film and music festival held in mid-March in Austin, TX. The study results point to a need for law enforcement and anti-trafficking advocacy groups to add resources to large events that are corporate, music and business-related in addition to sports related.
Special Events Sign – photo taken by: Famartin