Human Trafficking The Super Bowl and Beyonce's Halftime Show
By: Aesha Adams-Roberts
I should have turned it off. But like 100s of millions of people around the world, I was lured in. I squirmed, joked, and talked my way through it, although deep inside I knew I needed to turn away. It wasn't until I read this post by homeschooling mom, wife, and multi-million dollar business owner, Sandi Krakowski that I understood my ambivalent feelings:
"That halftime show was just as degrading to women as the trafficking that surrounds that event. Parents, please talk to your kids :("
Ouch. Her post spurred comments ranging from rage against her to religious rhetoric about women and their place in the world. Very few caught the true message. Sandi wasn't saying that Beyonce was promoting human trafficking. Instead we need to understand the marketing behind her image and message. In other words, Beyonce's perfomance, just like many of the Super Bowl commercials, was attempting to persuade us, to influence our beliefs, to cause us to take actions. Sure, she's an incredible singer. But what happened on that stage was just one more message our culture sends about unhealthy addictions to sex. Her performance works like a Coke commercial. The images create a blueprint in our mind, so the next time we are thirsty we reach for a Coke. What do unhealthy sexual images cause us to reach for?
All I had to do was watch the reactions to her performance in my Facebook newsfeed to confirm. Married men OPENLY posted about how turned on they were; Married women talked about how their husbands were glued to the TV, mesmerized by Beyonce's every move. I don't know about you, but as a wife, I don't want my husband talking about how sexy another woman is. I don't want his emotions and thoughts affected by it. As a mom, I don't want soft porn images, whether they be from Beyonce or from a Victoria's Secret catalogue to be planted in my kids' minds!
"It's just entertainment!" most people defending the halftime show said. Shockingly, many people say that about the porn industry which feeds the addictions driving the sex trade (many victims are trafficked into the porn industry). Human trafficking and the Super Bowl go hand-in-hand, with the numbers of victims spiking during this entertaining event.
What concerned me the most was how numb I was to the whole thing. It's the same numbness and lack of awareness that allows hundreds of thousands of women and children to be sold into slavery in the sex industry right under our noses. They're kidnapped and then hidden in plain sight. Brothels are opened next door to a school. Highways filled with rush hour traffic are used to transport victims from one city to another. The urgency of the problem can get overshadowed by the numbers. But when you start listening to the stories you begin to understand just how horrific human trafficking is. One woman was on a blind date at a coffee shop with a man she met through friends; he drugged her coffee, stuffed her in the trunk of his car and drove her across the border. When she woke up, she was in another country, chained to a bed. Another victim was looking for work. Her best friend introduced her to a cousin who promised her a job as a hair stylist in another coutnry and purchased her plane ticket. When she arrived he told her he didn't own a hair salon. He owned a brothel and she was forced to work in it!
As a woman, a wife, a mom, a believer in Jesus, I can no longer keep silent about this. I want to become a voice for these women, men, and children. Now that you've read this, you can no longer say you didn't know. You and I may not be able to do everything, but we can do something! If anything is going to change, WE have to educate ourselves and SPEAK UP!
I encourage you to learn the facts about human trafficking by visiting the A-21 Campaign's website. Click here to go to A-21 Campaign's site
Talk to your kids about what they saw during the halftime show. Share this post on this page with your friends on social media to help raise awareness. Together, we can make a difference.