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Medina Nonprofit Expands to Help Abused Youth, Human Trafficking Victims

photo of Rhonda Wurgler, Rob Portman
Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof and State Sen. Kenny Yuko were among the lawmakers who helped cut the ribbon on the new Children's Center of Medina, with Executive Director Rhonda Wurgler (center, in glasses).

Medina County’s only Child Advocacy Center has opened a new facility, and it’s meant to keep children safer and give them better access to services.

The nonprofit’s new facility is almost twice as big as the previous one. It’s one of about 30 in the state to use the child advocacy model, which brings together teams of professionals with legal, medical and social services backgrounds.

Executive Director Rhonda Wurgler said last year, they worked with close to 250 kids from foster homes, as well as children who have been abused.

“Ninety percent of the kids who are abused are at high risk for sex trafficking. So, we get those resources to them and educate them and teach them about what human trafficking is so that maybe, through those online platforms, they’re not enticed or pulled into that life.”

Wurgler adds that Ohio’s extensive highway system makes it attractive to traffickers. The state ranked fourth last year in the number of cases nationally.

Ohio has had a human trafficking task force focused on addressing the issue since 2012.