Sex-trafficking a blight on the Super Bowl

by Karen L. Willoughby |

In this file photo from 2011, a poster draws attention to sex-trafficking at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Texas. Pimps traffic thousands of under-age prostitutes at events such as the NFL's Super Bowl XLV, hoping to do business with men having money to burn, child rights advocates said. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

PHOENIX, Arizona (Christian Examiner) – At least 100,000 visitors are expected to be in Phoenix for this year's Super Bowl XLIX pitting the New England Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks.

Unfortunately, even with all the family-related activities associated with the game, too many of those coming to Phoenix will seek a perverse diversion while there.

Sex trafficking at the Super Bowl—as at other big sporting events—is expected to be a major activity again this year, and it is not an issue limited to prostitutes and their pimps.

"[When a] man calls for a little girl, a young lady, he is actually contributing to the sex traffickers doing this," said Annie Lobert in a video interview with Lauren Green of "Spirited Debate" on the Fox news channel.

Lobert should know.

She spent 16 years in the sex trade, starting as an 18 year old right out of high school.

"People get trafficked everywhere," Lobert said. "In Las Vegas I made a killer amount of money on the Super Bowl."

Not that she got to keep it.

When she got home, her pimp boyfriend said, "Break me," euphemism for "Give me all your money." When she said no, he beat her within an inch of her life, according to her new book "Fallen: Out of the Sex Industry and Into the Arms of the Savior," set for release in mid-February.

Green asked Lobert why she stayed with someone who physically abused her.

"Part of the breaking [with reality] is a domestic violence aspect with a twist," Lobert explained. "You're already in love with the trafficker. You already established a really good relationship and rapport with him. When he does this, he's already got you hook, line and sinker because of the romantic side of the relationship. You've already become dependent on him.

"There are bars you cannot physically see," Lobert continued. "It's all mind manipulation, brainwashing and coercion."

Besides, added the woman who now has a ministry to the women and children being trafficked, "I believed I could somehow change my trafficker's mind, turn him into a normal man and him get out of the lifestyle, like I wanted out of the lifestyle."

Lobert said traffickers search out certain types of women, women who are missing something. For many, it is money. Women and girls who are vulnerable, naïve, lonely, looking for romance all are in danger of being trafficked.

"A lot of traffickers like to go to movies, parks, roller rinks, after-school activities," Lobert said. "They've even been known to go to shelters and wait outside – even orphanages – for the kids to come outside to talk to them. Then they lure them.

"These men are dangerous criminals who are basically on the verge of psychopathic behavior," Lobert continued. "They will do whatever it takes to lure whomever they want to make money off of and exploit."

Lobert established Hookers for Jesus in 2005 in Las Vegas to reach out to prostitutes and sex-trafficking victims. She has become known as a recognized expert and advocate of ministry to men and women in the commercial sex industry.

She's been featured on radio, television and in online and print media, and leads in a three-part TV mini-docu-series on Netflix called "Hookers Saved on the Strip." Perhaps most riveting is Lobert telling her own story on www.IamSecond.com.

More than 300,000 children each year in the United States are used in the sex industry, Green said. Annually it is a $32 billion industry.