News Home
Quick Bites Archive
Exploradio Archive
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Social Issues

Ohio human-trafficking advocates say victims need community
Advocates look to get more people involved in indentifying and helping trafficked people

Andy Chow
Yung-Chen Lu, chair of the Ohio Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Council, says Asian American and Pacific Islanders are some of the groups most often trafficked.
Courtesy of Ohio Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Council
Download (WKSU Only)

Helping the victims of human trafficking requires more than the participation of law enforcement. Advocates from around Ohio are working to rescue victims and help them establish a life after captivity.

LISTEN: Working with the victims of human trafficking

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:48)

Anti-trafficking advocates say that raising awareness and sharing knowledge are some of the most important tools in the effort to stop the problem.

This is why the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission gathers several times a year, most recently this week. It is a chance for advocates from around the state to share what they know, including new statistics from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services in its work with the Ohio Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers. The latest show that 135 victims of human trafficking have been identified since July 2013.

Progress needs data
Margaret Toal is the interim coordinator for the governor’s human trafficking task force. She says a major step for the state in its response to the problem is to continue collecting and refining such data.

“So we have real numbers and we can also make sure that we’re educating prosecutors and judges around the state so that they’re aware that they have the tools in their toolbox to make sure we lock up traffickers for a very long time ,and we get victims to refer to their rights to services,” Toal says.

Freeing victims of human trafficking is just the first step. The state is also working on ways to rehabilitate victims and help them on a path towards independence and financial stability.

Some groups more vulnerable
Yung-Chen Lu knows a lot about this step. He chairs the Ohio Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Council and his group helps knock down language barriers, a common problem for human trafficking where a large number of victims are of Asian descent.

“They kind of been brought into this country without any language training, so they do not know how to speak English and that is a major hurdle,” Lu says.

Lu says there are 35 different Asian and Pacific Islander ethnicities in Ohio -- and  35 different languages that could need to be translated at any time. This becomes a problem when doctors need to address health concerns, and it hampers job training.

“Some of them -- even in their own native language -- they cannot really put sentences, cohesively, well,” Lu says.

Victims need a friend
The advisory council has created a network of people to help. Lu says it includes liaisons who work with victims one-on-one to get their life on track and to socialize.

“Get them out of their cage to speak up about their problem," Lu says. "And the liaisons not only work with them in a working environment but also treat them as a friend because of the friendship they can trust,”

Toal says Lu’s help is just one piece to the larger puzzle in fighting human trafficking. She says they continue strengthening their relationship with service providers on the local level.

“Really a lot of the work happens on the grassroots level," Toal says. "It is getting your local commissioners involved. It’s getting your coalition built to make sure we’re providing services on the back end after identifying a case, prosecuting it, locking traffickers up and getting the victims the services they need."

For Lu, it all goes back to raising awareness, which he says is a sensitive topic for some communities but must be addressed.

“This is the sort of thing that we have to be culturally sensitive," Lu says. "And to mention this kind of thing without hurting them."

Meanwhile, the attorney general’s commission is considering expanding the list of professions that can be trained to identify human trafficking operations.  Health inspectors and cosmetologists are just a few professions already trained.

Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

Stories with Recent Comments

Pluto: The Browns split from Manziel is long overdue
Get Brock Osweiler from the Denver Broncos! He's fantastic and seems like a great person.

Democratic Senate hopeful P.G. Sittenfeld pushes for local gun control
That makes no sense at all... why not let cities determine driving codes as well? Maybe Cincy want's folks to drive on the left side of the road. What could go ...

Exploradio: Autism in the workplace
I would love to get more information re: Autism on The Town and other such programs in Northeast Ohio. Thanks!!

Human trafficking cases rise in Ohio
It is about time this is presented to proceed with a plan of protect our youth.And very necessary to inform communities through school, churches ...

Fermented food company aims to preserve Cleveland's farm-to-table movement
This is terrific! I make my own sauerkraut and consider it vital to good health. Well done, I wish you all success.

Ohio doctors get new guidelines for prescribing certain painkillers
I would gladly smoke pot to get off pain killers but its not legal.It would save the hassle of doctor visits for pill counts,pee tests,blood tests,driving to pi...

Ohio unemployment cuts are nearing a Statehouse vote
What about those that are laid off seasonally? My husband has been employed by the same company for 26 years and has been laid off (for the last 17) mid-Januar...

Ban on microbeads is a big step in fighting plastic pollution
What a bunch of liberal "so open minded their brains fell out" tree huggin yuppies. Professing to be wise they became fools.

Who's on -- and left off -- Ohio's medical marijuana task force?
Biggest joke everm these people are evil they know marijuana is harmless they rigged the polls last nov everypne kmows it

Dayton 'Black Lives Matter' protesters to appear in court today
Police to fast with the trigger finger and not the brain.A lot of police officers out here judge by color first instead of accessing the situation first. If a p...

Copyright © 2019 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University