- Published: July 14, 2015
- Written by Grace Flink
In the years 1999 and 2000, prostitution rates skyrocketed in Miami-Dade county, Florida. Research suggests that various and surprising factors contributed from the economic climate, to law enforcement and the Super Bowl.
Number of Prostitution Charges Per Capita for Miami-Dade County
In 1999, the U.S. economy started on a high note: low interest rates, the lowest gas prices in the last decade, economic growth continuing for the eighth year in a row, and unemployment of 4.1%, the lowest since 1970. As a result there was increased disposable income for activities such as soliciting prostitution.
In late 1999 and early 2000, local police began conducting sting operations directly targeting prostitution. Officers dressed as homeless people, street vendors, and male or female prostitutes in order to catch those soliciting sex. “Among those nabbed for allegedly soliciting sex on the street are a county judge and—in just the past five weeks—a prominent priest, a high-ranking police officer and a school board official.” In addition, the public “shaming” of those caught had a deterring impact. Although the sting operation caused controversy over its’ high- profile arrests and the premise of luring people into soliciting, they contributed to lowering crime and helped clean up the impacted neighborhoods.
In January 1999, Miami hosted its eighth Super Bowl. There has always been speculation that the Super Bowl generates increased prostitution. For example, Atlanta Falcon’s football player, Eugene Robinson was arrested on a “charge of soliciting a prostitute in a seedy section of Miami the night before Super Bowl XXXIII”. According to teammates of Robinson, other players had done the same earlier in the week but unfortunately Robinson was the first caught. Experts on the issue say any major event that draws a lot of men, money, and alcohol together will attract more commercial sex.
Research thus far looking at other Super Bowls, has not yet fully supported a direct correlation between the hosting of the Super Bowl and increases in prostitution arrests. However, there are many other indicators such as Internet ads for sex and increases in hired staff in local 'gentlemen’s clubs.' "From everything we understand, the Super Bowl is an entirely different animal. It’s uncharted territory."