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As Super Bowl 53 approaches, 25 elements of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with nearly 600 personnel, have been working to support State, local, and private sector security officials ensure a safe and secure event. At the same time, the Department, through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), is on the ground in Atlanta working to combat criminal organizations’ attempts to exploit the event.
“We will not allow criminals to profit from the suffering of the most vulnerable among us,” said Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen. “Homeland Security Investigations will continue to work diligently to stop human trafficking that can surge around large events.”
ICE HSI has seen first-hand the negative impact of human trafficking following the mass movement of people in the metro Atlanta area for Super Bowl 53. This form of modern-day slavery targets and exploits millions of men, women, and children across the country every year. This week alone, ICE HSI has made 40 arrests associated with its anti-human trafficking operation and rescued four victims in the Atlanta area. DHS is committed to eradicating human trafficking and encourages all Americans to recognize the signs of trafficking and join the fight to end this heinous crime.
The Super Bowl also results in an increase in the sale of counterfeit goods such as tickets, hats, and jerseys. Purchasing counterfeit goods can not only ruin the Super Bowl fan experience, it can also jeopardize the health and safety of consumers, burden the U.S. economy, and ultimately fund criminal organizations. In the past week, ICE HSI has seized over 6,000 counterfeit sports items estimated to be worth over $250,000.