While a lot of cash and crowds are sure to come to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, state and city officials said Friday they are cognizant of the dark side the big game brings -- prostitution and human trafficking.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller, representatives from the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, social service agencies and police met Friday for an all-day forum to discuss the issue.
Authorities are concerned about a likely increase in prostitution stemming from the Super Bowl and are grappling with ways to address it.
Zoeller said it would help if the demand for illicit services could be curbed.
"Men must take the lead in not creating a demand in the illegal activity," he said. "We have to make it clear that it's not socially acceptable."
Often, prostitutes who are in the Super Bowl city are victims of human trafficking, having been brought in to fulfill a perceived uptick in demand. Because they are often in the country illegally, victims of human trafficking are less likely to seek help.
"When you look at human trafficking, you really have to look at the young girls who have been brought to the United States, many of them against their will, or they've been told a different story about why they're being brought for some type of work," Zoeller said. "Working to identify and rescue victims is a challenge, because they're not going to come forward on their own."
Zoeller said Indiana has work to do in the Legislature to address human trafficking.
"We don't have a statute specifically focused on those who traffic
in both sex and labor," Zoeller said. "We have a very short window to make it over the legislative deadlines (before the Super Bowl)."
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