SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 20,2015)– IndyCar fans are quickly making their way to the “Racing Capital of the World,” but the dark reality of illegal sex trafficking is also making an appearance.
Experts say young girls will be brought to central Indiana this weekend and sold for sex. The combination of large crowds, a party atmosphere and an event that caters mostly to men is when sex trafficking spikes.
However, the Indiana Attorney General’s office is fighting back though an awareness campaign titled, “Indiana’s Not Buying It.”
“The average age of death for those used in commercial sex is 34. The number one cause of death is homicide,” said Abigail Kuzma, assistant attorney general.
Leading up to the race, leaders in the Attorney General’s Office have gone to hotels and businesses near the track to pass out information regarding the sex trade. Hotels were given helpful tips to be on the look out for and how to identify a questionable situation.
“We look for guests that may be distressed, children that possibly feel uncomfortable in their surroundings. So we take it very seriously and we want to make sure every guest is really secure and comfortable here,”said Breanna Culross, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Indianapolis West.
The campaign also consists of several billboards and a public service announcement featuring Ed Carpenter, one of IndyCar’s premier drivers.
“It’s time that the criminals who purchase sex from children know that the secret is out,” said Carpenter in the PSA.
“It’s easy to disguise this crime so it’s really important that those who work for hotels are alerted about what to watch out for,” said Kuzma.
Kuzma expects to see a rise in the number of commercial sex adds this weekend on websites. In fact, during the Final Four in April, there were well over 100 advertisements per day on the website–well above the average, according to Kuzma.
“A lot of people think human trafficking generally happens only in foreign countries and of course that’s not true. Last year, we got more than 100 tips about human trafficking in Indiana alone,”said Kuzma.
“Hotels are unfortunately known for having incidents like this. It makes us feel safe that the state is backing us and supporting us,” said Culross.