HOUSTON — The city of Houston is eager to put its best foot forward as the eyes of the world tune in for Super Bowl LI.
"Together we want to make sure that the Super Bowl is an opportunity for Houston's welcoming spirit to shine," Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a news conference Thursday.
But as visitors descend on the Bayou City from around the world, the sad truth is that many of them might be brought here against their will as victims of human trafficking.
"We know that during the last four Super Bowls, there were increases in online sex ads, which can serve as a proxy for trafficking," Turner said.
City officials are bolstering efforts to crack down on trafficking during Super Bowl week. But it's a major problem for the city year-round, and the city's plan to fight it started coming together last year.
"Human trafficking is not a one time occurrence associated with single events." Turner also touted, "the city of Houston is the first to take ethical steps to institutionalize an anti trafficking response," the mayor said.
Houston's new Chief of Police Art Acevedo is joining the fight with gusto. He is sending out a warning to any potential offenders.
"We will expose you for the sick person you are. We will plaster your face in the community so people know the content of your character," Acevedo said.
Let's hope the city's plan brings our trafficking problem out of the shadows, and let's Houston shine in the Super Bowl spotlight.