ADRA Puts a Spotlight on Human Trafficking During the Super Bowl

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children, and men involving the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Victims are sold, bought, and traded like objects. Link to video:

Human Trafficking Facts

  • Over 27 million people worldwide fall prey to forced labor, with women and girls accounting for more than 65%.
  • 90% of female victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
  • Women and children make up most of the human trafficking victims.
  • Over one-third of total trafficking cases are children.
  • People fleeing persecution and conflict are particularly vulnerable to trafficking.
  • More than 50% of child trafficking victims are recruited by family and friends.

SILVER SPRING, MD (February 8, 2024) – The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) draws critical attention to human trafficking prevention during sporting events such as the Super Bowl.  According to law enforcement organizations, big-scale athletic events can lead to an upsurge in criminal activity, including unlawful human and sex trafficking, with youngsters making up a major proportion of the victims. Sex trafficking sting operations have resulted in arrests during the 2023 Super Bowl in Arizona and the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four in Minneapolis, resulting in the release of 28 victims, including a minor. Furthermore, law enforcement investigations indicate that the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Founder has been the subject of a federal sex trafficking probe since 2022.

The United Nations reports a considerable increase in the number of victims of human trafficking, with over 115,000 identified globally in 2022. In the United States, the number of people charged with human trafficking more than doubled between 2011 and 2021.

In light of the recent surge in human trafficking incidents, ADRA seeks to raise awareness, educate communities, and support trafficking survivors.

“Human trafficking is a global crisis that affects millions of men, women, and children, and ADRA recognizes the magnitude of this issue and is committed to raising awareness in the U.S. and in all regions where we serve around the world. We want to maximize every opportunity possible to educate and engage our community on the importance of preventing and combating human trafficking, especially during global spectacles that serve as a platform to reach a vast audience,”  says ADRA International’s Vice President for Humanitarian Affairs Imad Madanat.

Based on International Labour Organization (ILO) data, Asia and the Pacific regions have the highest number of victims of forced labor and marriage, accounting for over half of the overall global total of 29 million.

“ADRA has been active in the prevention of human trafficking for many years.  We have implemented comprehensive initiatives in various parts of the world. One of the most notable initiatives has been ADRA’s Keep Girls Safe program in Thailand, which reaches young women before they become victims, empowers them to pursue sustainable careers,  and reduces their vulnerability to trafficking,” says  ADRA’s Vice President for Sustainable Development Sonya Funna Evelyn.

Human trafficking can affect everyone, but people at higher risk include individuals fleeing violence and conflict, migrants, refugees, adolescent runaways, homeless persons, drug or alcohol addicts, and those suffering from mental illnesses (UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 2019).

According to trafficking prevention experts, knowing the warning signs is the first step in identifying victims and potentially saving one’s own or someone else’s life. For example:

  • Notice people who are estranged from family, friends, and the community.
  • Pay attention to persons who live in poor conditions and have physical injuries such as burns, bruises, and cuts.
  • Identify individuals who may be refused access to food, water, or medical care.
  • Keep an eye out for people who appear afraid or submissive and are controlled by someone else.
  • Be cautious of online scammers who promise high-paying modeling jobs or other opportunities.
  • Block and unfriend anyone who harasses or sends inappropriate messages on social media and take screenshots as evidence.
  • Avoid oversharing photos and personal information on social media since traffickers can recruit and track potential victims.
  • Recognize gang affiliation symbols, as traffickers use tattoos to mark victims.
  • Report any suspicious activities to authorities and be familiar with local human trafficking hotlines to get help. Sources:

Help ADRA create a safer world, Join the fight against human trafficking.  Visit to discover more about ADRA’s global trafficking prevention projects, as well as how to support survivors and protect vulnerable people from this heinous crime.

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About ADRA

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.

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