BY ALEXIS STEVENS
THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION /TNS
ATLANTA ‒ With the Super Bowl happening on Sunday, federal law enforcement officials announced they have arrested 33 people in metro Atlanta for sex trafficking. Authorities said Wednesday ‒ the Florida Courier’s press time ‒ they had also rescued four victims as part of the operation.
Advocates have warned that large sporting events like the Super Bowl are attractive to those in the sex trafficking trade. The crime can surge when lots of free-spending travelers are around.
The 33 arrests came over four days, according to Nick Annan, Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge. But Annan declined to discuss specifics of the cases, citing the ongoing efforts that will continue throughout the week.
“We plan to continue what we’re doing,” Annan said.
More than 40 local and state law enforcement agencies, along with 25 federal agencies, are assisting with security for the Super Bowl. Officers and security members have been visible throughout the downtown where events have been held.
Key law enforcement leaders, including Atlanta police Chief Erika Shields, spoke about security efforts during a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the Georgia World Congress Center. Shields said security planning for the Super Bowl began over two years ago, and so far, everything is going as planned.