This Sunday is the Super Bowl and if you are anything like me (raised in the Pacific Northwest) there is only one football team to root for whether you like them or not and that is the Seattle Seahawks. I grew up a fan of the Boz, and was in shock when the Kingdome was imploded. The reality of being a fan of any professional sports team in the Northwest is that it is usually riddled with a fair amount of cynicism and expectation that when push comes to shove, the Championship was just out of reach, regardless of the sport. The joy of great teams and great success is a pleasant surprise and has been a refreshing season for the fans.
With all of the ups and downs and successes of the Seahawks, I am reminded of a few things that make me smile and a few that give me pause. I love a good game and am sure that this upcoming Super Bowl will be more exciting than last year’s rout (smile). I enjoy spending time with friends and family watching the biggest game of the year (another smile) eating chili and having a lot of fun. Then I look at the statistics of what happens at the Super Bowl and my heart grows heavy.
In 2013 over 10,000 prostitutes were brought to Miami for the Super Bowl, and last year in New Jersey, the number was estimated to be even higher. The Super Bowl is the single largest event for Human Trafficking (transporting people for the purposes of forced labor or sex) according to the United States Attorney General. The even darker side of the Super Bowl is that it is the largest concentration of underage prostitutes in America at any one location and given point in time.
Amazingly enough many people look at these incidents and write them off as an anomaly or rare occurrence, but the reality is that these women are going to be trafficked right back to where they came from to work the same streets, serve the same pimps and desperately look for ways to get out of the deadly grip of this evil cycle of bondage, fear and abuse.
This Super Bowl, I want to encourage every person that calls on the name of Jesus Christ to pray. Pray for the health, safety and protection of these women (and men) whose average introduction into the industry is at the age of 12. Pray for justice to prevail and for those that are coordinating, trafficking and selling these women (and men) would be exposed and brought to justice. I would like to also encourage you and anyone you know to please pray for the demand to cease. Pray for powerful and transformational salvation experiences that cause those who are willing to pay for these acts to repent, commit their lives to purity, and serve the only satisfying and living God.
Please keep in mind that human trafficking is common right here in Bonner County and we are to pray that the Kingdom of Heaven would come and put an end to the destruction of our children. We must step in the gap, pray and actively get involved as we are able. Be a voice, be a hand, and be Christ to those in need without any judgment of where someone’s been. Take the time to pray over your street, your neighborhood, your area schools and your community to see the kingdom of heaven come to Bonner County.
Chris Bassett is the Pastor of Hidden Valley Worship Center. You can find more about him at www.hvwc.com.