Human Trafficking

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
Statehouse News Bureau

The Ohio attorney general's office says investigations of human trafficking cases rose last year to its highest level since the state began keeping track of those numbers.

 The Blade reports authorities investigated 202 human trafficking cases in 2017, a 50 percent increase from the previous year. The report released last week by the state attorney general's Human Trafficking Commission shows the majority of cases involved the sex trade.

Jo Ingles

Some of the officers that enforce liquor laws in Ohio are being trained to fight more than illegal serving or drinking. 

Gov. John Kasich says 80 undercover agents from the Ohio Investigative Unit, the agency that investigates liquor, tobacco and food stamp fraud, are being trained to spot the signs of human trafficking.

“If you have your eyes on what’s happening, you may prevent somebody from being taken and abused and have long term ramifications,” said Kasich.

State Using Data To Prevent Potential Human Trafficking

Jan 24, 2017
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
Statehouse News Bureau

State investigators are ramping up their efforts to put an end to human trafficking by taking a closer look at current statistics and data. 

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will begin analyzing a missing children database to look for any indications of human trafficking.

This database is of children who have gone missing at one point or another but may have returned.

Attorney General Mike DeWine says if investigators spot any red flags, they will notify local law enforcement who would then intervene in some way.

Kevin Niedermier

A collaboration of nearly 30 Cleveland-area health, social service and law enforcement agencies have unveiled a campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking. Signs saying “Human Trafficking Happens Here Too” will start going up around Greater Cleveland today. The launch is timed to correspond with the upcoming Republican National Convention.

Karen Kasler

There were more than 200 people identified as potential human trafficking victims in Ohio last year – nearly all of them female, and more than a quarter of them under 18. Those are the latest stats from a report presented to the state's task force on human trafficking. 

The number of potential victims is up slightly over last year’s report. But officials say there’s a detail that explains that.

“It absolutely is the case that increased awareness yields more people being helped, ” said Ohio's human trafficking coordinator Elizabeth Ranade-Janis. 

Press photo

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says a cultural change is needed to draw attention to the problem of underage victims of sex trafficking.

Portman says that while laws have been updated to reflect the reality of children forced into prostitution, everyone from police to prosecutors to judges to the public need to understand the nature of the crime.

Portman said Thursday after a human trafficking roundtable in Columbus that he hears from constituents who can't believe that underage trafficking is happening in Ohio.

Report: 98 Arrested Last Year For Ohio Human Trafficking

Jan 27, 2015

A report says police departments made 98 arrests last year during human trafficking investigations in Ohio, identifying 181 potential victims
The report says 85 investigations undertaken in the state also led to 113 suspected traffickers and 68 people suspected of trying to pay for sex.
Monday's report by the Attorney General's Human Trafficking Commission also documented the rescue of 17 potential victims and the referral of 67 victims to social services.

Ohio Governor Pledges More Help Fighting Human Trafficking

Jan 15, 2015

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is pledging continued help and resources in his second term to fight human trafficking.

Kasich told advocates and lawmakers gathered at the Statehouse on Thursday that much has been accomplished to combat the illegal trade of human beings for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, but more can be done.

Human trafficking victims often are prostituted or forced into sweatshop-type jobs.

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.