Super Bowl? Human Trafficking? How?

Missing children, many who are sexually exploited, victims of human trafficking, both minors and adults…it’s not the major story for Super Bowl and it shouldn’t be, but that was the focus of the amazing team of people I had the priveledge of leading in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl 50. 

This is my seventh year in these operations and possibly the most successful one yet. I am extremely grateful to the individuals who contributed to this great work and their giving of themselves in such a selfless way.

I am also grateful to each of you. You too are working to end human trafficking and many of you have supported our efforts through your donations. 

I hope you will share in our joy that victims were recovered, awareness was raised and some will never suffer the horrors of human trafficking as a result of prevention. Below is a recap of the work that was done: 

  • March 2015-February 7, 2016 Nita made many trips to the Bay Area to plan, organize and network with local partners
  • January 23-February 7th  Nita trained about 450 people in anti-trafficking
  • January 30th-February 7th over 175 local volunteers and 21 core members took part in an outreach in San Francisco, San Jose and Sunnyvale
  • 1250 Missing Childrens Books were distributed
    • Books contained pictures and info about missing children, indicators of human trafficking, contacts for the National Human Trafficking Hotline & the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. (NCMEC)
  • 750 Missing Childrens Flyers were posted
  • TEN of the 38 Children featured in the book and posters were recovered!
    • Please note, we do not know if those children were recovered as a result of our work but we do know those kiddos are safe!
  • Thousands of hours of anti-trafficking work were volunteered in our efforts
  • 1000 Anti-trafficking brochures were distributed
  • 500 Freedom Stickers were placed
  • Over 150 Convenience Stores were given anti-trafficking and missing kids information
    • About 30 teams of 2-4 people were dispatched
    • Volunteers were encouraged that nearly everyone they approached wanted to help, including customers who overheard their conversations.
  • Dozens of Fast Food and Restaurant locations were given anti-trafficking and missing kids information
  • Two solid leads of missing children were received and passed on to the (NCMEC)
  • 21 Were trained in on line surveillance
  • Our on line surveillance team included highly trained law enforcement who specialize in anti-trafficking efforts and volunteered their time.
  • Many qualified leads were sent to the FBI who did an amazing job fighting this crime.
  • The FBI released the info below as their results. Please note, although we provided leads directly to the FBI, we do not claim any of these results as our own:
    • “12 pimps, including two females, were arrested.”
    • “Investigators made contact with 129 prostitutes. Most were not arrested but were offered services to help get them out of “the life.”
    • “They also busted 85 people for soliciting sex.”
    • “Seven juveniles were rescued from sex traffickers and pimps by law enforcement during the weeks before the Super Bowl.”       Read more here

One outreach team asking to place photos of missing children found they were talking to the adult sister of one of the missing children on the poster. The missing child’s sister didn’t know her sister was missing and began helping to search for her sister. Another team, were told by a store employee that she believed the missing child was living in the neighborhood, the Tenderloin District, and now appeared to be much thinner than she was in the poster. This information was of course given to NCMEC.

Information and awareness is critical in the fight against human trafficking. Missing children are at risk of being trafficked, many sexually exploited. 

Research has shown that the most effective place to reach a victim of human trafficking is inside restroom stalls because often that is the only time a victim of human trafficking is not being watched by their traffickers. That is why In Our Backyard has launched the Freedom Sticker campaign in partnership with the Oregon Legislature.

We now look forward to next year in Houston, Texas. Stay tuned…if you would like to contact us just reply to this email  or if you would like to donate to next years Super Bowl efforts you can do so here

Again, we are grateful for your financial support and that helped make all of this possible. Thank you!

-Nita Belles