human trafficking

photo of Ohio Statehouse
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio lawmakers are proposing a new bill to crack down on human trafficking by going after the people who fund the practice – those who recruit and force people into prostitution and those who pay for it. 

Ohio has passed bills to stop human trafficking but State Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) says it is still a big problem.

“Ohio is the fourth worst state in the United States [for human trafficking].” 

Picture of downtown Cleveland
WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, Oct. 31:

A diversion program for victims of human trafficking is spreading to cities around the country. The model has roots in Columbus, Ohio, where a judge decided to direct women toward rehabilitation instead of jail.

Ten years ago, Judge Paul Herbert was sitting in a courtroom when he noticed a trend. He was seeing lots of women who were abused and forced into sex work, but they were being treated like criminals.

Ohio Attorney General David Yost adresses members of the press during a press conference on a sting operation, "Operation Fourth and Goal," on human trafficking. Ohio Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio. Friday, Sep. 13, 2019.
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A three-day, multi-agency, undercover human trafficking sting in Central Ohio has resulted in 104 people being arrested.  This sting is just the latest in statewide efforts to combat human trafficking.

Attorney General Dave Yost says 30 police agencies worked together in this sting, an operation called “Fourth and Goal.” Fifty-three of 104 arrests were for felonies, and 26 arrests involved crimes against children. 

photo of human trafficking conference
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

A bill offering more protections for victims of human trafficking has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. The PROTECT Act helps trafficking victims recovering from drug addiction and protects them from being prosecuted for crimes committed while being abused.

Trafficking survivor and founder of Columbus-based SWITCH National Anti-Human Trafficking Network, Dr. Marlene Carson, said traffickers find many ways to keep women in the system.

photo of Rhonda Wurgler, Rob Portman
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

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.

Photo of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump
LYDIA TAYLOR / WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, March 15:

STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, March 1:

ANDY CHOW

Hundreds of people gathered in Columbus Thursday to discuss the most pressing issues related to human trafficking in Ohio. 

Advocates, law enforcement, attorneys and human trafficking survivors filled the Ohio Statehouse atrium for the 10th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness conference.

State Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) started the event with just a few dozen people. Now more than 400 attend.

photo of Kathie Gray, Heather Scott
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

A new report shows that the number of human trafficking victims continues to increase in Ohio. Since 2014, when the state began compiling data, Ohio has moved from fifth-place to fourth in the nation for the number of cases.  California, Texas and Florida make up the top three.

Photo of the Bowery Project in Akron
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, January 9:

photo of Kathie Gray, Heather Scott
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Hundreds of communities around the country participated in the Walk for Freedom over the weekend, bringing awareness to the issue of human trafficking.

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SHUTTERSTOCK

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, July 18: 

Statehouse News Bureau

Lawmakers in the Statehouse are landing on different sides of a debate over the criminal records of human trafficking victims. The argument is over what measures the state should take to conceal and even wipe out those records.

How the bill will help
Niki Clum is with the Office of the Ohio Public Defender. She’s arguing in front of a House committee for a bill that would burn the criminal pasts of people who committed those offenses while they were victims of human trafficking.

photo of Governor John Kasich at human trafficking event
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

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,” Kasich said.

photo of Clifford Pinkney
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Ohio law enforcement officials have formed a new task force to combat human trafficking in Cuyahoga County.

At least one investigator for the task force will be on-call in Cleveland 24/7. This area is unique for trafficking due to its proximity to Canada, several expressways and also Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney. He says the key for the new task force is collaboration at the local, state and federal levels using traditional channels as well as social media.

Human Trafficking Commission logo
Ohio Attorney General

The state has been trying to fight modern-day slavery on several different fronts, from revising the laws to raising awareness about human trafficking. A coalition of community groups is learning more about what can be done for the victims once they’re out of the system.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission, which is a gathering of many groups fighting the crisis around the state, is working to strengthen victim services.

Photo of Rep. Teresa Fedor announcing proposal surrounded by students
Karen Kasler / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The number of reports of human trafficking in Ohio went up in the last year. A lawmaker has been working on the issue for years to protect more minors who are victimized.

map of trafficking
POLARIS PROJECT

A new report from a nonprofit group says the human trafficking is on the rise nationally and in Ohio. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles talked to a state lawmaker who’s worked on the issue.

 

photo of 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-child database to look for any indications of human trafficking.

This database is of children who have gone missing but may have returned.

photo of human trafficking conference
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Several Northeast Ohio groups held a forum over the weekend on human trafficking, and as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, Summit County faces unique challenges when it comes to stopping the issue.

The event at the Akron-Summit County Public Library was designed to help people spot victims of human trafficking and included a documentary on the subject.

Anti-human trafficking sign
GREATER CLEVELAND'S COORDINATED RESPONSE TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Inquiries about human trafficking went up during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland when an estimated 50,000 people came to town.  

A spike was predicted because large events can generate increased human trafficking cases.

A Northeast Ohio anti-human trafficking group says a public education effort launched a few weeks before the RNC contributed to the rise in attention to the issue.

S.O.A.P. logo
SAVE OUR ADOLESCENTS FROM PROSTITUTION

Groups that fight human trafficking say there are signs it will happen in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention.

Theresa Flores is a former human trafficking victim who now dedicates her life to fighting the practice. She monitors ads on internet websites.

“They tell you what phone number to call, and you call that number and you go to the hotel they tell you to. Sometimes they even tell you what hotel they are going to be at or what part of town.”

Ohio  Attorney General Mike DeWine
KEVIN NIEDERMIER / WKSU

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 tomorrow. The launch is timed to correspond with the upcoming Republican National Convention.

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