Heart of the River hosts Protest Paddle


By Zach Osowski

Hosting a

Super Bowl is something most major cities dream about, and this February,

Indianapolis will have the privilege, bringing national attention and focus

that local officials hope to parlay into economic development and tourism.

But the

Super Bowl – which determines the champion of the National Football

League – brings its share of issues as well, Indiana Attorney General

Greg Zoeller said Friday. Among them: An increased

commercial sex industry that can include human trafficking.

So Zoeller announced the launch of a program designed to raise

awareness and enhance training about human trafficking, which generally

involves bringing girls and young women into the country illegally and hiring

them out to people as prostitutes.


is part of a state effort by Indiana," Zoeller

said. "But it is also a part of a national effort."


trafficking crimes have increased significantly at the last few Super Bowl

games. At the game in Tampa in 2009, the state's Department of Children and

Families rescued 24 children who had been forced to be sex workers.


in 2010 and 2011 – at games hosted by Miami and Dallas – worked to

decrease the problems, Zoeller said.


they wish they could have done more," he said.

Now, Zoeller is working with the Indiana Coalition Against

Sexual Assault

on training sessions meant to help law enforcement officials

decipher the difference between a sex slave and a prostitute. The first event

took place Friday at the Indiana State Office Building.


addition, Zoeller will be working closely with the

Indiana General Assembly to draft a law that addresses human trafficking,

particularly profiting from the sale of sex with girls under 18 years old.


missing in the law now is the actually trafficker," Zoeller

said. "We've always seen the prostitute as the criminal and in these cases

she should be viewed as the victim."


for the legislation is already in the works, Zoeller

said. But he acknowledged lawmakers – who return to work in January –

will have a short window in which to pass a bill into

law before the Feb. 5 game.

The FBI has

no Indiana statistics on human trafficking because it is not one of the top

crimes it tracks in the state, according to Zoeller.

That makes

it difficult to tell if training or new laws are making a difference, Zoeller said.

The above is one of an ongoing

series of reports from the Indiana Statehouse by students at the Franklin

College Pulliam School of Journalism



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