In Our Backyard has campaigned against human trafficking year-round, and because trafficking coincides with big events, the organization places a special focus on the Super Bowl.
Cheryl Csiky, the executive director and herself a survivor of human trafficking, says leading up to the game, her group distributed 5,000 picture books of missing children to the public and at convenience stores in Tampa Bay and educated employees on the signs of trafficking.
“We actually had two convenience stores recognize two of the children in the book that January 30th outreach day,” Csiky reports.
In Our Backyard also trained 140 community members a week leading up to the Super Bowl on how to spot trafficking victims.
“It’s a really great opportunity to get the community involved and really understand what missing children are at risk of,” Csiky shares. “To date we have 13 of the missing children recovered out of the 36 that we had the community look for inside those missing children books, so it’s really great news.”
80 leads were also turned over to the appropriate authorities. In Our Backyard worked with police in hopes of taking trafficking victims off the street and helping them out of the abusive and tormenting business and starting a new life.