With the Super Bowl just weeks away, the Phoenix area is a gearing up for the multitude of football fans that will descend into the state. As with any Super Bowl, the host city will see a rise in crimes, especially sex trafficking. Catholic Charities is preparing to serve the increased number of sex-trafficking victims arrested by Phoenix police.
The Super Bowl is expecting more than 100,000 visitors, who will generate an estimated $500+ million in economic impact. “We live in a culture of excess, and the supply and demand for sex will be high,” says Dr. Jon McCaine, clinical psychologist and consultant for the Diversion Program at Catholic Charities. “Visitors to our state will bring an excess of money. People who are controlling sex-trafficked women are opportunistic. The Super Bowl is a perfect time for these people to make money by selling sex.”
Dr. McCaine has been working with victims of sex trafficking for more than 20 years and has observed the damaging effects on communities. McCaine believes that Super Bowl sex transactions will occur in quiet neighborhoods in leased homes to visitors.
For more than 30 years, Catholic Charities’ Diversion program has offered emotional support, counseling, addiction recovery, education, life-skills building and job placement assistance to help survivors live free of prostitution. In the last year, a total of 915 lives were touched in the CC Diversion program
The Diversion program gives victims a place to reflect and consider other possible options. The program has an 86 percent success rate for those who complete the program. Since survivors are not re-offending, communities save tax-payer dollars from avoiding re-arrest, prosecution, and incarceration.
“There are many misconceptions about sex trafficking,” says Dr. McCaine. “Most people believe that these women choose to live this life. It’s not a choice. Most come from extreme abuse situations and the women are desperate. They have limited options and at that point morality becomes a luxury. Women turn on survival mode. The hopelessness of these women is hard for people to understand, as a community it is our duty to protect our most vulnerable members.”
Founded in 1933, Catholic Charities provides care for the vulnerable of all faiths in Phoenix and northern Arizona through programs in foster care, early start education, housing, veteran services, refugee relocation and poverty reduction. Learn more by visiting www.catholiccharitiesaz.org. Social connections include www.facebook.com/CatholicCharitiesAZ and twitter.com/CCArizona.