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I was born and raised in Massachusetts. At every school I’ve gone to and every place I’ve worked, we’ve had days where we are encouraged to ditch our normal attire and dress to support our teams for big games. Most of my life I’ve watched our teams with victory after victory. And it’s pretty great.

I’m not a huge sports fan, but I’ve been to Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics games. I enjoy going and I enjoy the Boston camaraderie; especially after the Boston Marathon bombing. The feeling of “this is our city” and sticking together is something all of us felt, and still feel. It’s what has kept me a fan of all New England sports.

You may have noticed above, I didn’t mention the Patriots. I’ve never been to a Patriots game. It’s only because they play when it’s freezing, the tickets are expensive, and Gillette Stadium is a hike from where I live. I don’t even watch them often, but because they’re from Boston, I’ve always rooted for them.

It wasn’t until this past year that I realized I do not blame sports fans from the rest of the nation for hating us. But, I’m never bothered by high-school classmates posting their Patriots Nation passion on Facebook. I was still sort of happy that we were winning.

Until today.

I woke up from a nap, opened Facebook, and started scrolling.

I saw an article about Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots. He is being investigated for soliciting prostitution, which would be no surprise, honestly. But what caught my eye was that it was in connection with a human trafficking investigation.

I shook my head, told my boyfriend and exited out of the app.

Later on, I clicked back and was horrified with what I saw.

My Facebook “friends” were posting support for Kraft. They were proud of him for “getting some.”

I was shocked. Disgusted to put it more bluntly. Did the “human trafficking “ part mean nothing? Did they not understand? Did they not care?

People were coming to Kraft’s defense and saying that he didn’t do anything wrong.

Okay. If it were something as simple as a sex worker being hired by Robert Kraft, I could see that. I personally believe sex work should be legal. But it wasn’t. That’s not what human trafficking is, and Kraft’s arrest was part of a major sex trafficking ring bust.

Prostitution is defined vaguely as “the act or practice of engaging in sexual intercourse for money.” According to Human Trafficking Search, “sex work and sex trafficking involve prostitution by definition, [but] sex work entails a willing engagement in commercial sex while sex trafficking involves force, coercion, or deceit.”

Human trafficking victims are involved against their will. This wasn’t just prostitution and definitely not sex work. This was sex slavery. At first, I was hoping that maybe he didn’t know that they were trafficking victims. That’s what my Facebook friends were claiming. “It’s not his fault, he didn’t run the place.” But why are they celebrating him? Why are they not concerned? According to one article by West Palm Beach’s WPTV, the women were sleeping at the “spa” on massage tables. They were cooking on the back steps the building. That was where they lived. It’s evident that anyone who stepped in there would know that these women were not there by choice.

Human trafficking posts have been circulating around on Facebook. “Be aware! I was almost a victim!” While these posts have turned out to be false most of the time, human trafficking is incredibly real and happens far more often than most realize. According to Polaris, “There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the US. Polaris estimates that the total number of victims nationally reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors and sex trafficking and labor trafficking are aggregated.” Human trafficking victims can be forced into sex labor, labor , or both.

Why share posts showing support for someone who paid to further victimize these trafficked individuals?

I would guess that is has to be the fact that Robert Kraft has power. He is rich. He is the owner of the beloved Patriots. Somehow, many believe he is above the law.

This isn’t the first time a situation like this has happened, but it’s the time that made me wake up and see it taking place before my eyes. It made me realize what exactly power and fame can do – or rather what it can help you get away with.

Learn more about Human trafficking by visiting Human Trafficking Search.

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