Last week I attended Shared Hope International’s call-in that conveyed lessons-learned to combat regional sex trafficking efforts for large-scale events, such as the Super Bowl in the United States.
Panelists from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, local law enforcement and other rescue and service organizations from Arizona, California and Washington, D.C., shared how collaboration is key to effective operations.
The interactive conference focused on the 2015 and 2016 Super Bowl events in Phoenix and San Francisco areas, respectively.
The discussion was fascinating. Listening to how these public servants put their time, energy and heart into rescuing sex trafficking victims was inspiring. To say the problem they are tackling is challenging is definitely an understatement. But one thing is clear: partnering with the larger community during events like this provides a broader approach and extended resources. Organizations like churches, homeless shelters, hotels and entertainment venues are critical to the conversation because they can play a substantial role in helping to identify potential victims and providing vital victim services, like a safe place to rest for the night. From a public relations perspective, I learned that there’s a delicate balance in communicating the concern of sex trafficking to the local public while at the same time adhering to a city’s standards for media engagement. This may not be as easy as it might seem and also requires thoughtful planning and coordination.
Overall, the relationships formed between service providers proved to be beneficial to all parties involved. In fact, several panelists relayed that many of the organizational ties that began during their Super Bowl events are still intact today — continuing to work together and support solutions on an ongoing basis. It shows how regular people like you and me can be brought together and used mightily to bring about profound change, possibly even saving lives.
There once was a queen in ancient Persia. Her Jewish identity was not well-known; not even to the king. But when push came to shove and the Jewish people were targeted for annihilation, Queen Esther discarded her royal mask and chose to make known her cause to save her people. She brought them together to fight for the precepts of God’s truth. And they prevailed.
Thank you, Shared Hope, for being in this fight. Together, may we also prevail.