Human trafficking, or modern slavery, is reported in every state, Ohio included. Despite Ohio recording a high number of human trafficking cases, residents have little idea of the devastating crime happening in their state.
There are areas where human trafficking is most prevalent in Ohio, but all citizens ought to be on the lookout. Why? Traffickers do not look at the social status, region, educational background, gender, or age. They operate worldwide, and everyone is a potential victim.
Ohio has large urban centers and several counties with a rural setting. In addition, the state has a large number of immigrants and a transient population. These features have made Ohio more vulnerable to human trafficking.
What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is the transfer, transportation, or harboring of people forcefully or through fraud and deception for the purpose of making money or for debt bondage. Usually, traffickers target individuals living in unsafe conditions, the poor, and those in search of a better life.
The traffickers usually lure or force the victims into the situation with fake promises of a better life, education, and well-paying jobs. Ohio records many cases in labor trafficking, child trafficking, and sex trafficking.
Human Labor Trafficking
Human labor trafficking, also called involuntary servitude, is obtaining a person forcefully or through fraud or coercion for labor with little or no pay. Typical labor venues include:
- Beauty services
- Sailing crew
- Domestic work
Human Sex Trafficking
Human sex trafficking uses force, coercion, or fraud to exploit individuals to perform sexual activities. Sex trafficking venues include:
- Commercial brothels
- Online ads
- Residential brothels
Child traffickers prey on children and young people and exploit them through forced labor or child sex trafficking.
Ohio Human Trafficking Statistics
According to the recent human trafficking statistics by state, Ohio State ranks at number five. However, there are some areas where human trafficking is most prevalent. The federal human trafficking report indicates that southern Ohio had the second-highest number of charged cases in the country in 2020.
The cases filed at the attorney general’s office involved human trafficking defendants in Cincinnati and Scioto County. Although the attorney general did not file federal instances of human trafficking activity out of Columbus, 2020 saw local prosecutors file numerous claims.
Additionally, Sullivant Avenue records the highest statistics of prostitution and human trafficking.
What Is the Ohio Government Doing to Stop Human Trafficking?
Although every Ohio citizen has a role in eradicating human trafficking, the state has taken stringent measures to secure and educate its people about the illegal trade. Through task forces, hotline numbers, education programs, Ohio has made significant efforts that have borne fruits.
Human Trafficking Task Force in Ohio
The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) has strived to fight human trafficking in Ohio. Since its formation in 2012, OOCIC has helped form several task forces focusing on northern Ohio, southwestern Ohio, central Ohio, and northeastern Ohio.
Since 2015, human trafficking task forces have indicted 180 people on 878 felony counts and rescued 349 victims. In addition, the task forces have handed over more than 930 potential victims to social services and received 1,740 tips.
Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies work for the task force, focusing solely on the victim. Together with the victim’s advocates, the law enforcement agents engaged in undercover stings and rescued human trafficking victims. In 2020, attorney general Dave Yost and Ohio organized an investigation commission headed by three task forces in Mahoning County, Cuyahoga County, and Central Ohio. They collectively rescued 103 victims.
In addition, state departments combine resources and skills to fight deadly crime. For instance, the Ohio department of transportation (ODOT) and the governor’s human trafficking task force are working together to stop the evil vice. Thousands of ODOT employees work on state bridges and roads and make it possible to access victims easily.
Ohio encourages its citizens to use the national toll-free number (1-888-373-7888) to report a tip or to access information about anti-trafficking resources. Callers can reach anti-trafficking hotline advocates who standby for any potential trafficking cases. Although the United States has a handful of sex trafficking courts, Ohio is lucky to have one in Columbus.
Ohio has come up with human trafficking prevention measures that have helped more victims access justice. For instance, the Ohio Department of higher education has included human trafficking training in the curriculum for several professionals. With more victim service providers on board, combating crime has become more accessible.
Additionally, the government has developed youth prevention programs to educate and fight trafficking through awareness.
Human trafficking offenders shouldn’t walk free from their crimes. At Babin Law, LLC, we don’t sympathize with human trafficking offenders. Instead, we push for the full force of the law to take its course.
Are you a victim or know someone who has gone through the stressful trafficking ordeal? Contact us today so we can discuss your case.