It's a staple of every Super Bowl: Politicians pumping up the idea that a tidal wave of prostitutes, many of them underage, are about to descend on the host city.
News outlets lap it up, and no one pays any attention to post-mortem comments from cops who say they didn't notice any real increase in hookers during the Big Week.
Village Voice Media's Pete Kotz takes a look at the phenomenon, as Indiana attorney general Greg Zoeller whips up the troops:
Seven hundred cabbies have been trained to spot the victims of pimps. Nuns have been dispatched to hotels to lecture staff. Special soap -- more than 16,000 bars, reports the Indiana Statesman -- is being placed in hotel rooms, stamped with phrases like "Are You Witnessing Young Girls Being Prostituted?" In the event that the answer is yes, national hotline numbers are conveniently being stamped on bathroom walls.
Not to be left out, the Indiana legislature rammed through an emergency bill to keep the state safe for the game. Sell a child under age 16 for sex in the Hoosier State, and you're now looking at up to 50 years.
"The Super Bowl Prostitution Hoax" takes a look at this ongoing urban legend.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.