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


Dennis said that one group of girls he spoke to last year told him that they had been "resting up for the Super Bowl in Atlanta," and others when asked why they were in Miami responded, "Why do you think? It's the Super Bowl."

"This is a side of the Super Bowl that we don't want to talk about. It's supposed to be fun," he said. "But unfortunately you can't just ignore it either. It's time that people recognize that this is going on."

Skelaney and a group of more than 150 volunteers roamed the streets of Miami Beach that Super Bowl weekend, approaching girls who were under the control of pimps and handing out cards with hotline numbers.

According to the group's data, 14 leads were generated regarding missing children, six children were recovered and volunteers made contact with 23 young women who were potential victims of sexual exploitation.

The majority of the females the group encountered during their sweeps were those who had traveled from outside the state, many of whom said the Super Bowl had been the draw for their pimps.

Additionally, monitoring of online message boards such as Craigslist and showed an increased number of ads for escorts. Prior to the Super Bowl, there were 38 ads and then two days prior to the game there were 192 ads, said Skelaney.

While there is no way to know for sure how many of these ads are actually advertizing underage women, Dennis said trained professionals know to look for key words in the ads, such as "pretty," "young" and "tender." Heavy makeup on the girls -- perhaps in an attempt to make them look older than they actually are -- is also a common technique online, he said.

In 2009, in the days leading up to the Super Bowl held in Tampa, agents arrested two alleged pimps who had advertized the sexual services of a 14-year-old girl in a Craigslist ad titled, "Super Bowl Special," according to news reports at the time.

Police in Phoenix, Ariz., where the 2008 Super Bowl was played, broke up a child prostitution ring that they believed at the time had come specifically for the championship game.

Sgt. Joel Tranter, who was the public information officer for the Phoenix Police Department during the Super Bowl, told ABC News that the agency was aware that pimps who are involved in a "prostitution circuit" were coming to the area to profit off the Super Bowl.

A spokesman for, an online classified website that has been known to host sexually explicit ads like the ones authorities want to deter, issued a statement regarding the upcoming game.

" is committed to preventing those who are intent on misusing the site for illegal purposes and for that reason we have instituted additional staff to review and monitor ads posted in the Dallas section during the Super Bowl," said company spokesman Steve Suskin. "We have also implemented a series of new safety enhancements over the past several months to better protect our communities and will continue to further increase our safety practices."

Messages left for were not immediately returned.

Ernie Allen, who heads the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, says the problem of child sex trafficking isn't only a problem on Super Bowl weekend.

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