At most of these large events, groups of nonprofit organizations, including Rahab's Daughters, combine with law enforcement and concerned citizens to actively combat trafficking, but there is one essential partner missing, the sports organizations themselves. While there are a few exceptions, most of the large international and national sports leagues don't acknowledge that human trafficking exists, nor do they take any responsibility for the sale of humans conducted in conjunction with their events.
How can individual fans start to hold the major sports leagues, the NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL as well as major international organizations like the OLC and FIFA, accountable and demand they participate in the fight against human trafficking?
1. Directly ask what actions the sports organization is taking.
2. When athletes or team owners engage behavior that enables trafficking, hold the teams and the leagues accountable.
Most teams and sports organizations have codes of conduct for their players and team owners, but it can sometimes feel like the are not enforced or enforced arbitrarily depending on the fame or wealth of the person involved. When incidents happen, like the arrest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft for soliciting prostitution, hold the team and the league accountable. Demand action and to enforce their existing rules of conduct.
3. When athletes or owners engage in behavior that combats trafficking, amplify it.
Conversely, when players, teams and leagues take positive steps to fight trafficking, like Albert Pujols' campaign against human trafficking, support their actions. Share the information with your networks and encourage continuation of the behavior or action. Many individual players have their own foundations or philanthropy causes, some of which work with other nonprofit organizations in the fight. It's important to recognize that changes are occurring for the better and that sports organizations are not monoliths of thought and behavior.
4. If you attend a game, look for signs of trafficking and report it.
If you suspect human trafficking while at a game, report it to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888. It can be difficult to discern what to look for and be aware of, but some warning signs may be people who seem afraid or withdrawn from the people they are with.
5. Educate your fellow fans.
Human trafficking takes place all around us, but is hidden on the fringes. Most people who are enjoying a game aren't aware of the trade happening around them, don't know what to look for, and don't know how to report incidents. Make your friends and family aware of the problem and engage them in becoming part of the solution.