Law enforcement agencies prepare to crack down on human trafficking ahead of Super Bowl

169 human trafficking arrests made in Atlanta in days surrounding 2019 game

By Amy Viteri - Investigative Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - South Florida's top law enforcement officials are already hard at work getting a game plan in place ahead of 2020's Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium. 

"Today was a meeting of the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force. It's the oldest human trafficking task force in the country," Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury, of Homeland Security Investigations, said. 

Salisbury said one focus of Tuesday's training is promoting one number -- a national hotline to report human trafficking. 

"That will result in an immediate response from law enforcement," he said. 

State and local law enforcement officials, along with community partners, gathered Tuesday morning at Johnson & Wales University's campus in North Miami for a primer on the expected rise in illicit activity, like trafficking, that can follow major events like the Super Bowl. 

"It's about helping them, getting them resources, where do they go," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Ariana Fajardo Orshan. "OK, so they broke away. They finally made this phone call. How are we going to be able to guide them?"

Earlier this year, during the days surrounding the Super Bowl in Atlanta, the FBI announced 169 arrests as part of their human trafficking crackdown. Nine of the victims they encountered were minors -- the youngest just 14 years old. 

"Large events tend to attract human trafficking elements, partying, anyone looking for a good time," Salisbury said. "They don't sometimes realize that they're pursuing or purchasing people who have been trafficked."

Law enforcement agencies said they're counting on the public to be vigilant and report anything that doesn't seem right. 

"Even if it turns out to be nothing, it's better to be safe than sorry," Fajardo Orshan said.

The phone number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888.

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