Super Bowl Sunday's Dark Side: Big Game Attracts Child Sex Traffickers

VIDEO: ABC News went to the West Coast where girls are being lured into the sex trade.
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When fans flock to the Dallas Cowboys' stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, few will be thinking about anything other than touchdowns and tailgates.

But nearby, in hotels, motels and on street corners, Texas authorities say a "dark side" will exist, one where children are sold for sex by pimps. And those sex traffickers are descending on the area.

"People are thinking of the Packers and the Steelers and the game on the field, having a good time and Super Bowl commercials. Most don't think about a 12-year-old being forced to dance naked," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told ABC News.

"There are several things at play here. There are maybe 100,000 or more coming in and out of town for a single event, and it seems to be a testosterone filled event," said Abbott. "The Super Bowl is a magnet for child sex traffickers."

Texas is creating a task force of federal, state and city agencies to combat child trafficking in Arlington during the big game.

"The link is that with any sort of major event and planned event there is going to be unfortunately corresponding influx of various crimes," said Carl Rusnok, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is part of the task force because of its expertise in international child trafficking.

"And one of those very unfortunately is going to be prostitution and or the child prostitution or more directly human trafficking," Rusnok said.

Abbott said that Texas law enforcement officials wanted to "get ahead of the curve" this year in combating the problem of child prostitution during the Super Bowl after hearing stories from Miami Beach and Tampa, where the last two Super Bowls were held.

During the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami Beach, child outreach professionals said they saw a surge in young women working the streets in the week leading up to the big game. Many of the young girls they spoke with told outreach experts that they'd been brought to the area by pimps hoping to profit from the game.

"We saw at least four times as many, if not more, young women on the streets," said Sandy Skelaney, who headed the Super Bowl outreach project at Kristi House, a child advocacy organization in Miami.

"We know for a fact that we had contact with several girls who were out of state who told us that they came [to Florida] to work the Super Bowl," said Skelaney.

While Super Bowl Sunday is a party for most people, the toll on many of the ex-prostitutes is apparent among those who have been rescued from pimps and are now in counseling. The girls exhibit high anxiety and stress as the annual spectacle approaches, Skelany said.

"My clients were experiencing a lot of triggers [around Super Bowl time], we had a lot of extra therapy sessions," she said.

Brad Dennis, the director of the KlaasKids Foundation, an advocacy group that works to find missing children, many of whom may have become involved in child prostitution, has traveled to the past two Super Bowl host cities and plans to travel to Dallas ahead of this year's game.

Like Skelaney, Dennis said that the child prostitutes he has met with on the eve of the big games tell him that they're there because there is such a great demand for their services.

"The Super Bowl is a traffickers playground," said Dennis, "You have an influx of money and the party atmosphere."

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