David J. Phillip / AP

Homeland Security Kicks Off Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking, Other Risks at the Super Bowl

Department personnel are also working to prevent sales of counterfeit goods and head off any potential security threats. 

As the nation prepares to watch one of the biggest sports games of the year, the Homeland Security Department and its sub-agencies are devoting personnel and resources to combatting human trafficking, counterfeit goods sales and other security risks that can arise at large events. 

On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs will play in the 54th Super Bowl at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, where an estimated 150,000 visitors will come for the football game and other activities. While human trafficking and other risks are not new to the Super Bowl, human trafficking is pervasive in Florida, especially in Miami-Dade County where the stadium is located, the Miami Herald reported. Additionally, the Homeland Security Department has experienced a 400% increase in counterfeit goods seizures nationwide since last Super Bowl. 

As the department’s security planning was underway, officials thanked employees for their hard work every year.

“The Department of Homeland Security and nearly every one of the component agencies are in Miami working with our federal, state, and local partners to ensure a safe and secure Super Bowl week,” acting Secretary Chad Wolf said. “While there are no specific, credible threats against the Super Bowl, an event of this size and profile creates a potential target for violent actors, cyber-crimes, counterfeit marketers and even human trafficking. The American people can be sure that DHS and our partners are prepared on all fronts.”

To combat human trafficking, DHS deployed personnel from the Homeland Security Investigations unit of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to Miami to work alongside state and local law enforcement. The Miami Herald reported that 33 people were arrested in relation to sex trafficking in the lead up to last year’s game in Atlanta and that this year’s location might pose a heighted threat. 

“The Super Bowl in a beautiful, partying place like Miami is a bonanza for traffickers,” Theresa Flores, a trafficking survivor, told the Miami Herald. “You lock four girls in a room, barely feed them, threaten them, beat them, force them to have sex with men who are charged inflated rates, knowing you are at very low risk of getting caught. You can sell a human being over and over again. Your Super Bowl experience could easily net $50,000 in profit.” 

This year DHS will be using its “first-of-its-kind” human trafficking strategy, released on Jan. 15. The plan, which recognizes trafficking as a top issue, is centered on informing the public, assisting victims in recovering, investigating and bringing cases for prosecution, partnering with outside organizations, and harmonizing internal operations. The department did not immediately respond to Government Executive’s question on how many employees were sent to Miami.

Additionally, Immigration Customs and Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations team is working with Customs and Border Protection to identify and investigate potential counterfeit sales. In the lead up to last year’s Super Bowl, federal and state authorities seized over 2,000 counterfeit sports items valued at about $100,000, MarketWatch reported. On Thursday, the department announced it seized over 176,000 counterfeit sports-related goods worth about $123 million nationwide since last year’s Super Bowl. This was a 400% increase from the $24.2 million’s worth seized the previous year.

“Purchasing counterfeit goods can not only ruin the Super Bowl fan experience, but it can also jeopardize the health and safety of consumers, burden the U.S. economy, and ultimately fund criminal organizations,” said the department.

Wolf visited the Joint Operations center in Miami on Wednesday to discuss security plans with Homeland Security personnel, local and state law enforcement, and National Football League security officials. Brian Swain, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Miami Field Office, is leading the operation. 

Other departmentwide initiatives to provide security at the game include: the U.S. Coast Guard ensuring waterway safety, the Federal Emergency Management Agency preparing for potential disasters, and the Transportation Security Administration augmenting airport security and mitigating traffic. The department thanked its partners for all their efforts and said it has already begun security planning for next year’s Super Bowl in Tampa.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.