Human Trafficking

It’s estimated that more than 1,000 in Ohio are victims of sex-trafficking each year.  300,000 children nationwide are considered to be at high risk. Those numbers are galvanizing politicians, police agencies and other organizations to raise awareness about the war on human trafficking.

Jerry Kenney

On Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services announced the creation of a network of first responders that will assist victims of human trafficking. to do that, the state will work with the Ohio Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers.

The announcement was made at Michael’s House in Fairborn – a place where abused children can get counseling, mental health and medical services, in a comforting environment. Michael’s House is one of 24 Children’s Advocacy Centers the state is now working with.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office says local law enforcement agencies reported 30 human-trafficking cases in the state in the past year.

The numbers were released Thursday as part of a new Ohio law requiring local agencies to collect data on human trafficking cases and report it to Attorney General Mike DeWine's office.

Ohio lawmakers have approved a measure that increases penalties for human trafficking offenders and adds protections for victims.

The Ohio House unanimously endorsed the legislation Wednesday.

The bill says minors or developmentally disabled people should be considered victims of human trafficking if they're recruited or held captive to engage in sexual activities.

House Speaker William Batchelder says the legislation gives authorities the tools they need to crack down on traffickers. 

The state of Ohio is spending nearly $50,000 to launch a campaign to raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking.

Gov. John Kasich said Wednesday that the state is working with a Hudson public relations firm to develop a "multi-pronged outreach and education campaign" that is expected to be introduced before the end of the year.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he'll back further legislation this session bolstering the state's legal crackdown on human trafficking.

Kasich spoke at an awareness event Friday at the Statehouse. The Republican governor said the state is marshaling its resources against the crime, but more can be done.

Victims of human trafficking often are prostituted or pushed to work against their will in sweatshop-type jobs. Some are girls as young as 11.

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. 

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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. 

Ellen Belcher, who's filling in for Emily McCord, interviews State Rep. Teresa Fedor, a Democrat from Toledo, about human trafficking in Ohio.

Full episode of WYSO Weekend for January 22, 2012 containing the following stories:

-An extended interview with Dr. Celia Williamson about human trafficking in Ohio.  A portion of this interview appeared in Sarah Buckingham and Liz Cambron's story, Child Sex Trafficking: A Statewide Problem, which aired last week on WYSO Weekend.

-An interview with local poet and Wittenberg University professor Steve Broidy in Conrad's Corner.

Child Sex Trafficking: A Statewide Problem

Jan 11, 2012

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Human trafficking will soon surpass drugs and guns as the largest illegal enterprise in the country. And the most prevalent form is child sex trafficking. On a national report card Ohio was given a “D” on it’s response.  Sarah Buckingham reports from Toledo – a city that’s on the frontlines of the tackling the problem.

 “We’re gonna shoot up Lagrange Street, one of the typical areas where we’ll do a sting…” Pete Swartz investigates child sex trafficking with an FBI task force in northwest Ohio.