The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks are set to meet at the Meadowlands on Sunday for Super Bowl XLVIII. For months, Episcopalians in New Jersey have been preparing for the shadow side of the big day.
“The Super Bowl will bring more glitz and glamour than perhaps any other event New Jersey has ever hosted,” wrote Newark Bishop Mark Beckwith in a January 24 op-ed in the Star Ledger. “And, as Super Bowl history has demonstrated, it will bring more suffering and darkness – in the form of human slavery – than we can possibly measure.”
According to the Episcopal Public Policy Network, the Super Bowl is “arguably the single largest sex trafficking incident in the United States.” To combat human trafficking during the Super Bowl, New Jersey Episcopalians have been raising awareness and joining with other advocates to take action. Last week, Lynette Wilson of Episcopal News Service wrote about efforts in the Dioceses of New Jersey and Newark, including efforts spearheaded by Deputy Laura Russell and Executive Council member Martha Gardner.
The Diocese of Newark has posted on its website prayers for victims of human trafficking and links to government and advocacy coalitions working against the problem. The Episcopal Church website also includes resources on human trafficking, including a video of the Presiding Bishop speaking at a 2013 churchwide conversation on human trafficking.
A subcommittee of the Executive Council Committee on the Status of Women and its staff liaison Lynnaia Main is working to build a network of human trafficking advocates. The group has started a Facebook page called Episcopalians Against Human Trafficking.
Resolution D042 of the 2012 General Convention, proposed by Russell, recommits the Episcopal Church to protecting victims of human trafficking and building a network of Episcopalians, and beginning conversation with other provinces of the Anglican Communion. General Convention has also called the church to stand against human trafficking in resolutions 2009-A167, 2003-A025, 2003-D034 and 2000-A057.