Too often, we conceive of slavery as problem of the past, a moral lapse that has been corrected. The truth is, however, that more people are enslaved today than were enslaved at any other point in world history. The International Labor Organization, an agency of the United Nations, estimates that 21 million people across the globe are trafficked into forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor and sexual servitude—all forms of modern slavery.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, so named by the President in order to acknowledge this nation’s painful history of slavery and to highlight the nation’s commitment to freedom. For many Americans, January is also the exciting lead-up to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, this flagship of America’s pastime has become marred by some of the darker aspects of society today. According to leading advocates and law enforcement agencies, the culminating event of football season brings with it some of the largest sex trafficking operations in the country. While there is no concrete way to measure the number of people that have been, or will be trafficked in Glendale, Arizona over the weekend, Miami police in 2010 estimated that 10,000 people had been trafficked as prostitutes for that year’s game.