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 of New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Email him here, or click here to follow him on Facebook.