Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced the formation of a Human Trafficking Task Force. WYSO’s Jerry Kenney reports that it’s the first of its kind in Central Ohio.
Attorney General Mike DeWine says the creation of the task force is the result of the human trafficking that’s happening every day in the state.
"Sometimes people think it only occurs in other countries, but it does occur in the state of Ohio, and it’s simply nothing more than compelling someone to do something they do not want to do against their will, whether that be engage in sex, whether that be any other form of servitude, or any form of submission. So that’s really what it is and that’s what we’re trying to deal with."
DeWine says this is a proactive approach to a vastly under-reported crime. Their first investigation has lead to several indictments, and arrests in Chillicothe.
"And this is just out of one incident where these individuals came out of Chillicothe, went to Columbus, and we are alleging held the victims against their will, and posted on the internet trying to sell them for sex."
Two men have been arrested on charges of trafficking in persons, rape, kidnapping, and promoting prostitution. Two others were still being sought in the case.
DeWine has also established a Human Trafficking Commission that he says, will analyze, research and look for other solutions for the human trafficking problem.
A report on sex trafficking in Ohio due out today from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has been released. The study centered around 328 self-identified human trafficking victims, primarily in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.
The report says more than a third of the sample said they were trafficked for sex before the age of 18, and a striking majority of female victims also said they were recruited by other women also involved in the sex trade, or who acted like a friend.
The study also identified common high-risk factors amoung victims who spoke about their childhood experiences:
• 63% reported they ran away from home at least once
• 47% reported being raped more than a year before they were trafficked
• 44% reported being victims of abuse
The Attorney General's Human Trafficking Commission is offering a webinar later this month to teach education professionals the signs of human trafficking. Webinars will also be offered for students, families, and community members in the fall.