By SCOTT GOLDSTEIN / The Dallas Morning News
Published: 19 January 2011 07:27 PM
Dallas police officials today briefed U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert on efforts to crack down on an expected spike in sex trafficking surrounding Super Bowl XLV.
“One of the reasons why this has come to a head is because unfortunately we know as a result the Super Bowls held in other parts of the country that this is an occasion where the criminal element in our society will bring in people who are basically subject to involuntary servitude,” Cornyn, R-Texas, said at a news conference after the private briefing at Jack Evans Police Headquarters.
Estimates of how many prostitutes may flood into North Texas in the coming weeks vary widely. Dallas police officials caution that there is no reliable way to quantify the increase.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and the FBI have already pledged resources to combat human trafficking. Abbott described the Super Bowl as one of the biggest draws for prostitution.
Officials said that their crackdown is not just about the Super Bowl, but part of an ongoing effort and shift in strategy that began years ago and will continue long after the game ends.
“We want to treat the victims of this trafficking in such a way as we get to the underbelly of these organized criminal activities,” Cornyn said. “It mandates a change in attitude and approach by law enforcement. It requires the cooperation and coordination of multiple organizations from law enforcement to social service agencies.”
Leppert said the proactive strategy includes law enforcement, government and private organizations working together on intervention, prevention and suppression.
“Our purpose today is one of awareness, of communicating to this community how important this issue is, not only surrounding the events that will take place in the next couple weeks, but also understanding the impact on our community,” the mayor said