ROCHESTER, Minn. - While Super Bowl Sunday is known for getting together with family and friends, delicious snacks, a good game and some commercials, there's also a darker side to game day.
The Super Bowl remains a target for human trafficking and although the game isn't in our area this year that doesn't mean there isn't a spike in the crime around the country.
Rochester police say the community should remain alert, watch for victims that aren't dresses appropriately for the weather, who don't appear to have identification or don't speak for themselves.
Lt. Jim Evenson said, "They're someone's neighbors, friends or family that need help to get out of these situations where they feel trapped. It's important for people, just the general public, if they see something that looks out of place to tell somebody about it."
The pandemic may add an additional complication as masks can make it harder to identify if someone is a victim. However, police say that just means it's more important than ever to pay attention.
He added, "It makes it harder because you can't see the facial expression as much. The eyes are the window to the world or the soul, I guess they say, but still the rest of your facial expression says a lot so it's harder to pick up on some of those nonverbal cues."
The Minnesota Department of Health has a Safe Harbor Program aimed at educating and helping victims of human trafficking. You can learn more by clicking here.