Sex trafficking is a vile and mostly omnipresent crime. Girls that have runaway from home or have been kidnapped will be forced into the sex trade. They can start as young as 12 years old.
Last weekend, Texan officials decided to study the Formula One race to see if the could find an increase in sex trafficking. They didn't, which could mean the concept of sports-related prostitution is overblown. It could also mean that sex trafficking is a crime that's always happening and thus any spikes are smaller.
Sporting events, whether it's football, baseball, motorsports, or something else, are typically attended by a male majority. That's a lot of testosterone in one place, and sometimes that results in dudes looking for sex.
How many isn't well known, as these sort of statistics are not consistently reported. Outside of sporting events, you rarely hear about sex trafficking arrests made during a normal week. Even during a sporting event the reporting of sex trafficking is a rather recent development.
At Super Bowl 45 in Dallas, police made 113 arrests related to prostitution and sex trafficking. But this is all that were caught by law enforcement. In reality, there are estimates that thousands of sex workers are brought to the Super Bowl host cities each year.
After the experience in Dallas, officials thought that the international Formula One crowd in Austin would once again bring in a huge increase in the sex trade. Police focused on it by partnering with other agencies and non profits in order to stem the flow of sex trafficking.
It may have worked.
During the entire Austin F1 weekend, there were 13 arrests related to sex trafficking. None of the 13 arrests involved a minor.
Austin police told The Statesmen that they didn't go out there to just make a bunch of arrests. The first priority was "going out there to see if they could rescue any victims."
Apparently, there also just wasn't demand for prostitution at the F1 race. Some say it's because the attendees for the F1 race were affluent and hotel rooms were very expensive. That means they weren't using the websites and other methods that police are used to.
But how is that different from the Super Bowl? Tickets and hotel rooms for the biggest football game in the world are at least as expensive as the F1 weekend, if not more so. You could say that the F1 fan is not the type of person that would seek out a prostitute, but that's short sighted: There is a ton of overlap between Formula One and NFL fans.
The decreased numbers from the Dallas superbowl two years ago could have more to do with increased awareness and more operations in order to prevent these types of events in the first place. The concept of fresh demand for sex workers during these events could also just a myth. No one has definitively proven a connection in the United States, according to The Statesman.
All we can say for certain is there was no evidence in Texas of a major increase in sex trafficking-related arrests or incidents for the race weekend and that total arrests were down compared to the Dallas Super Bowl.
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