Let’s check on Google and see.

Search Super Bowl and parties and you get 60.4 million hits.

Search Super Bowl and chili and you get 1.16 million hits.

Search Super Bowl and prostitution and you get 350,000 hits.

Each year, for every new Super Bowl, the media focuses on an interesting fact:  Thousands of men with lots of money in their pockets showing up for a 3-day party in a city far from home away from wives, families and social restraints means more “business” for prostitutes.

But what happens when the “prostitutes” are underage victims of human trafficking?  Should we care?  And what can we do about it?

Human trafficking is an increasingly important issue within The Junior League, with key initiatives taking place at the state level through the New York State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior Leagues of New York and the Junior Leagues of New Jersey State Public Affairs Committee.  But the Junior League of Atlanta (JLA) shows what even one League can do on its own, when members are behind it.

One week before the kickoff of Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, JLA sponsored How To Stop The Candy Shop, a special one-hour presentation on Atlanta’s public television channel, PBA30 TV, that marks the launch of a citywide campaign focused on eliminating the sexual exploitation of Atlanta’s children.  And that’s only one piece of JLA’s comprehensive initiative against the sexual trafficking of underage children in Atlanta.  JLA’s political affairs day at the state capitol, on Feb. 1, brought the message to legislators.  Days later, JLA sponsored a community leadership meeting at League Headquarters to build support for its initiative.

But this is not a done-in-a-day program.  Other highlights of JLA’s ongoing efforts include:

  • Conducting community training and advocacy workshops to better educate members and the public on this issue and what they can do.
  • Holding a “girls roundtable” with over 20 community voices discussing ways to prevent the exploitation of children and available resources.
  • Holding an education and empowerment workshop for adolescent girls to focus on awareness and prevention.
  • Sponsoring a business breakfast with over 30 business and community leaders, with an additional breakfast meeting coming soon.
  • Creating a billboard outreach campaign to provide trafficking victims with the Georgia Care Connection number, a resource line dedicated to helping them.
  • Monitoring upcoming legislation that would reduce demand or supply for commercially sexually exploited children.
  • Partnering with other nonprofits in Atlanta to work collectively on ensuring that the issue of the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is discussed and not ignored.
  • Empowering a Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children committee to increase awareness of this issue, target the demand for exploiting children and reduce the supply of at-risk children.

Everyone agrees that sexual trafficking of underage children is a serious problem in this country.  But how we respond to this issue also says a lot about who we are as a country.  Thanks to the Junior League of Atlanta for showing all of us what a group of dedicated volunteers – who love their city – can do.