Sisters Prepare for Superbowl 50
Research shows that there is a direct connection between major sporting events, such as the upcoming Super Bowl 50, and an increase in human trafficking in the vicinity of the event. For the past year members of STOP Slavery Coalition have been working to address that reality in the San Francisco Bay area.
In collaboration with law enforcement, they have highlighted the critical need for better reporting of incidents of suspected trafficking of persons for sexual exploitation. Hotel service workers are the most logical potential reporters, being in the best position to witness what goes on in a hotel. How can they be educated to report suspected illegal activity?
The Justice Promoters for the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and Mission San Jose have made presentations at local schools and parishes, alerting their audiences to the potential rise in trafficking when football fans hit town in February 2016. People wanted to get involved, so in collaboration with other Catholic sisters in the Bay area, the Promoters drew up a plan.
The result has been 75 trained volunteers from local parishes, universities and high schools who have canvassed 275 hotels in the Bay area. Meeting with hotel managers, they have offered an online course to increase awareness of human trafficking in hotels. While reactions of the managers have been mixed, the volunteers agree that it is a valuable effort to get the word out and possibly prevent a true human tragedy.