Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced this week that she is enlisting a major international travel hub in the battle to prevent human trafficking ahead of Super Bowl LV.
Along with It’s a Penalty, on Wednesday, Moody unveiled human trafficking awareness signs at Tampa International Airport. The messages are placed strategically throughout the airport to encourage travelers to report human trafficking and urge victims being flown in for the big game to reach out for help. The signs are just one part of a multifaceted blitz to increase human trafficking reporting as thousands of visitors are expected to utilize the airport during the week of the Super Bowl.
This is the second year in a row Florida is hosting the Super Bowl. According to police reports from the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami, 47 human trafficking related arrests were made, which lead to the rescue of 22 victims. Law enforcement officials anticipate similar trafficking efforts to take place this year in Tampa.
“Super Bowl LIV brought many adoring fans to our state last year, ready to fully enjoy the game and festivities. Unfortunately, as with any event attracting huge crowds, the event also attracted black market vendors and customers. Human traffickers exploit these types of events to increase their terrible transactions at the expense of their captives and the benefit of their bottom line. Sadly, even the deadly pandemic will not stop these criminals from targeting our state, but we are ready to stop them. We have home field advantage and are united in our efforts to combat human trafficking ahead of Super Bowl LV in Tampa,” Moody said on Wednesday.
“I am proud to partner with It’s a Penalty to bring human trafficking awareness signs to Tampa International Airport ahead of this year’s Super Bowl. With thousands expected to travel through the airport in the week leading up to the game, these signs will offer travelers and potential victims invaluable—and in some cases life-saving—information and resources,” she added.
It’s a Penalty CEO Sarah de Carvalho said, “The full support of state law enforcement, including the Office of the Attorney General, is vital to our campaign because it heightens the awareness of the public while providing them with mechanisms to make a report.”
While there may not be as much travel to Tampa for the Super Bowl this year as in years past, law enforcement warns of the potential for human trafficking. Even with COVID-19 reducing travel nationwide, Tampa is still preparing and expecting visitors to the city in the week leading up to Super Bowl LV.
As travelers flock to the state in anticipation for the big game, Attorney General Moody and It’s a Penalty’s signage will be exposed to those traveling in and out of the airport—proving to be an invaluable resource for victims in need of help and fellow travelers in learning to spot the signs and how to report cases of human trafficking.
As many plan on traveling to Tampa from across the state and country for Super Bowl LV, Moody encouraged all Floridians to familiarize themselves with ways to spot human trafficking, such as:
- Individuals displaying fear, anxiousness, paranoia or a reluctancy to discuss injuries;
- Physical injuries, such as burns, branding, disorientation, scars, tattoos, etc.;
- Speaking as if coached or having someone else speak for them; and
- Suffering from drug addiction, infections or sleep deprivation.
If you suspect or witness an instance of human trafficking, contact local law enforcement or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1(888) 373-7888.