If you're a regular reader of this site -- and yeah, we hope you are -- then you might have seen our lead story this week about the urban myth that the Super Bowl host city gets inundated with prostitutes.
If you read that article and then picked up the Sun-Sentinel today, you might have been surprised to see the lead story: "Child sex rings target S. Florida." The story begins: "As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, police are sounding the alarms about the problem of children being sold to partiers for sex."
But here's the thing: Nobody quoted in the story, including top law enforcement officials, backs that theory. The story uses no statistics to support the claim -- because there aren't any. And it ignores continued reports, like the one we published this week, that debunk the
idea that the Super Bowl leads to an increase in prostitution or sex trafficking.
The first quote in the story, from John V. Gillies, FBI special agent in charge in Miami, even seems to reject the very premise of the story. The paper quotes Giles as saying: "I'm not going to tell you there are tens of thousands of children trafficked into these areas. But there are enough that if we can save just one, it makes a huge difference."
Yet the story goes on to reference the 2010 Super Bowl in South Florida. Any poof of an uptick in prostitution for that game? Nope. The Sentinel cites one arrest as proof of its flawed theory.
If the paper had dug deeper, it would've found quotes from law enforcement officials in multiple cities saying they found no real increase in prostitution thanks to the NFL's big game. And even NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy has said: "This is urban legend that is pure pulp fiction. I would refer you to your local law enforcement officials."
Eric Barton is editor ofNew Times Broward-Palm Beach
.Email him here
, orclick here
to follow him on Facebook.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.