The authors propose a data-driven approach to analyzing sex trafficking, especially as it is carried on during--and perhaps in response to--large public events such as the Super Bowl.
The authors examined 33 public events, chosen for attendance numbers comparable to the Super Bowl from a diversity of types, and used the volume of escort advertisements posted online as an accessible and reasonable proxy measure for the actual levels of activity of sex-workers as well as trafficking victims. The authors’ analysis puts the impact of local public events on sex advertisement activity into perspective. The authors find that many of the events considered are not correlated with statistically significant impact on sex-worker advertising, though some are. Additionally, the authors demonstrate how their method can uncover evidence of other events, not included in initial list, that are correlated with more significant increases in ad activity. Reliance on quantitative evidence accessible through data-driven analysis can inform wise resource allocation, guide good policies, and foster the most meaningful impact. (Published abstract provided)