How do Organizations Fight Human Trafficking During the Super Bowl?
For the past 7 years, Rahab’s Daughters has visited the city that hosts the Super Bowl to help rescue potential human trafficking victims. This year, Rahab’s Daughters staff, along with 16 volunteers, visited both Orlando and Miami, FL for to perform rescues at both the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl. Our mission involves several partner organizations, whose help with on the ground coordination, data collection and analysis, and tireless labor is invaluable.
According to the ASU School of Social Work, there is an “estimate of 10,000 victims flooding host cities to be offered to willing purchasers intent on buying sex.” Rescuing human trafficking victims being sold at the Super Bowl is close to Rahab’s Daughters mission because our founder, Sharmila (Sam) Wijeyakumar understands the intensity of the connection between human trafficking and the Super Bowl. Sam is a survivor of human trafficking and was sold at Super Bowl for several years in a row. This memory drives Sam to be a force during the mission trip. Sam and our co-founder, Rev. Dr. Denardo Ramos, have one goal when it comes to the mission trip, rescue as many people as possible!
Organizations Form Partnerships!
We would not be able to accomplish this goal alone. Rahab’s Daughters is proud to partner with multiple organizations this year in the fight against trafficking. The first partner is The Convergence Resource Center (CRC), which provides client-focused, trauma-informed care for trafficking survivors, including education and training for community organizations and service providers. Their founders Dr. Debbie Lassiter & Carla Mckiver, are 16-year veterans in the fight against human trafficking and have some trademark programs like HEMAD to stop demand. Rahab's Daughters entire team in Miami participated in HEMAD, led by Rev, Dr. Denardo Ramos.
The second partner is Focus Martial Arts, which includes self-defense classes to help prevent potential human trafficking. The third partner is The Village Church of Bartlett, who provided volunteers and assisted with the 24-hour call center. The fourth partner is Ground Secure, part of the 611 networks, working to provide a faith-based network of resources nationally for survivors. Finally, Rahab’s Daughters partnered with MITRE. MITRE is a not-for-profit dedicated to solving problems for a safer world.
What is so unique about MITRE?
Rahab’s Daughters’ unique partnership with MITRE, a not-for-profit research and development company, provides a tool that tracks illicit online discussions and flags the data for law enforcement. MITRE's Hermes Project team, based in McLean, Virginia, created the technology to target the trafficking of people, weapons and, drugs.
Organizations Take Action!
This year, there was a whole team in Milwaukee and the Chicagoland area that ran a 24-hour call center providing outreach calls and fielding incoming calls to help connect rescue teams with potential rescues. The call center successfully made over 3,000 outreach calls. While the call center handled incoming and outgoing calls, there was a team of 16 volunteers in Orlando and Miami helping to rescue and pass out hotline information.
The field team successfully handed out 5,000 roses and 2,000 tissue bags with a hotline number. The field team also provided 2,500 camera covers to help protect online security along with over 300 toiletry bags to potential rescues.
All of this hard work resulted in the rescue of 14 human trafficking survivors so far with up to 40 plus expected by the end of the month as a result of the initiative!
The field team in Florida did much more than pass out information. They would physically visit the human trafficking hot-spots identified by data collected by MITRE. Many of these locations were massage parlors, street locations, strip clubs, and more. One of the first nights, Rahab’s Daughters came into contact with two young 15-year-olds who were being forced to work in the sex industry. Later as the week went by we continued to reach out to various women with a wide range of stories. One girl was taken from Miami just before the Super Bowl started to Atlanta so she would not be rescued by the Miami Women’s Fund or arrested by the City of Miami. She told us that she would most likely be brought back to Miami to continue working after the Super Bowl.
Quick Snapshot of Rahab’s Daughters Mission Trip Achievements:
Handed out 5,000 roses with the hotline number
Handed out 2,500 camera covers to protect online identity
Handed out 2,000 tissue bags with the hotline number
Handed out 300 toiletry bags
Made over 3,000 outreach calls to potential trafficking rescues
Made 42 rescues
The Rahab’s Daughters team will come back to the Chicago area on February 3rd and move forward with its plans for 2020. However, the 24-hour call line will stay open and available to help any incoming calls that come in after the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. For more information on Rahab’s Daughter's upcoming mission trips and events, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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