TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Raymond James Stadium will be in the spotlight soon as Tampa hosts Super Bowl 55 in roughly nine months. But with the big event will likely come a problem that could grab some of the attention: human trafficking.
That’s why a group of local leaders and experts is trying to stop it.
“Human trafficking goes on regardless of whether there’s an event or not. So it’s here in our area every day, regardless of whether an event comes to town,” said Dottie Groover-Skipper, a leading expert on sex trafficking. “But big events do bring in more people from the outside, opportunists who might want to make money.”
8 On Your Side watched an hour-long meeting Tuesday and learned the group turned to leaders in Miami who hosted the most recent Super Bowl. In South Florida, they came up with a major advertising campaign and plastered signs on buses and billboards to alert the public to the issue and how to spot it.
One place it is common is hotels and motels, where men typically bring women to sell for sex.
The NFL will work with Tampa and Hillsborough County leaders and give support along with grant money to help with the issue.
“We know that people look to us right or wrong. And we know that for better or for worse, our work is judge by whatever headline, on any given day,” said Clare Graff, Social Responsibility Director for the NFL.
The big game is bound for Tampa and the panel is working to make sure it goes off without a hitch.