Super Bowl hotbed for human trafficking

27 arrested in human trafficking sting (WDTN Photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – While millions watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, thousands will be sold for sex.

Officials say the NFL championship game is the number one weekend for human trafficking in the nation.

“Around any large sporting event where a lot of men come in there are traffickers who bring their stable, their victims to sell them because that is where the demand is,” said Tonya Folks, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office human trafficking training liaison.

Folks says sex trafficking isn’t personal, it’s business.

“It operates on a business model and you have supply and demand,” said Folks.

She says that product is advertised highly during sporting events, especially the Super Bowl.

“The Super Bowl is a part of our culture and people don’t want to associate negative things with it, but the fact is, the FBI has data,” said Folks.

In Arizona the week of the 2015 Super Bowl, the FBI busted 360 people looking to buy sex, 68 traffickers and found 30 underage victims.

Detective Melanie Phelps with the Montgomery County Sherriff’s Office has been cracking sex trafficking cases in Montgomery County for years.

“It’s definitely increasing, that also comes with awareness with the community, a lot of people don’t know they are victims,” said Phelps.

For Detective Phelps, it’s a problem that’s close to heart. She has a 9-year old daughter.

“I don’t want this to be something she gets tricked into. I don’t want her to worry about somebody taking advantage of her just because of her age,” said Phelps.

More than 1,000 Ohio children are victims of human trafficking every year.

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