Super Bowl-prostitution link questioned

Every time there is a major event in the Twin Cities — the Republican National Convention, for example — we are told that it will also be accompanied by a large increase in prostitution. It’s that way in other cities, too, particularly when the Super Bowl comes to town, as it will in Minneapolis next winter.

But the prostitution and human trafficking prediction doesn’t pan out, City Pages reports today.

Before Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona, Cindy McCain — wife of Senator John McCain — declared the Super Bowl “the largest human-trafficking venue on the planet.” Glendale produced a lengthy public service video broadcasting the evils of the flesh trade.

But according to police, not one person was busted for prostitution-related crimes or sex trafficking in the days leading up to the game.

The trafficking trade hasn’t picked up much momentum over the past two Super Bowls either.

In Santa Clara County, California in 2016, law enforcement arrested or cited 30 Johns. Of the 14 arrests or citations for prostitution-related offenses, one included the arrest of a 20-year-old woman suspected of pimping a 17-year-old girl.

Over a 10-day period leading up to last year’s Super Bowl in Houston, police made a total of 107 arrests. Only 21 involved “vice prostitution.”

The same thing happens every year in Super Bowl cities, with civic leaders predicting Armageddon. The myth stems from a peculiar logic. They apparently believe that America’s most connected corporate chieftains — the only people with the access and money for tickets — are a band of licentious degenerates, here to ravish enslaved maidens, not watch a game.

So teeth are gnashed and cities spend tens of thousands of dollars in police overtime. The arrest figures eventually turn out to be not much different than any other week.

Earlier this month, community leaders in the Twin Cities unveiled a $1 million campaign to discourage sex trafficking during the Super Bowl.

University of Minnesota professor Lauren Martin studied the connection between major sporting events and sex trafficking.

“Likely, there’ll be a short-lived increase in activity in the commercial sex market,” she said. “This is usually measured by looking at online advertisements for sex. But that will decrease once the people who came here for the Super Bowl leave.”