The year is almost over and the 5th Annual Ohio Human Trafficking Awareness Day is going to be here soon.
The National Association for Social Workers & Ohio State Representative Theresa Fedor sponsored meeting is at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium at 78 S High Street in Columbus on Thursday, January 9th, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The R.S.V.P. information is at the bottom of this article.
Attorney General Mike DeWine's office released a report earlier this year that showed 30 uncovered domestic sex trafficking cases this past year that involved 38 victims and 21 traffickers.
When interviewed, DeWine had this to say, “Any time we can get the public to focus on human trafficking it's a good thing. Part of this whole process is educating people that human trafficking does occur in Ohio, does occur in the United States, and maybe does occur in your community -- and these are things people don't normally think about.”
Because of the Safe Harbor Law creating much support for the victims and tougher penalties for the traffickers, they were actually able to see some of those prosecuted and the criminals convicted whereas in earlier years most cases (if even found) wouldn’t get very far at all.
Adding this to the newly marked up Supporting At-Risk Children Act with the Wyden-Portman Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act of 2013, the fight has grown in all the right directions. [see article]
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Recent reports have shown half the victims having alcohol or drug dependency issues and often times both; so when a great number of the trafficked are impoverished, severely beaten and abused (the traffickers often times brand their “merchandise” and will use hot irons on their skin) and, with being pulled away from the outside world, the combination can be lethal.
After-care is desperately needed.
It is believed that a lot of the “under-reporting” is due to prosecutors charging, often times teenagers, for prostitution instead of human trafficking and this is owing in large part to a fair number of law enforcement agencies not knowing there are new requirements to reporting some of these cases.
Another turn around needed is the overall outlook of law enforcement when it comes to runaways, of which Ohio has thousands each year, and this statement found recently describes it perfectly: “….Ohio is quick to label child prostitutes as delinquents and to incarcerate them, rarely looking further at the adults involved.”
Part of winning this fight includes the “Look Beneath the Surface” 5th Annual Ohio Human Trafficking Awareness Day next month at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium.
They ask those who wish to attend to please R.S.V.P. to Claire Childers at Claire.Childers@Ohiohouse.gov or to call 614-644-6017 by January 6th, 2014.
For more info: for those who live Ohio and want more information, please contact the Ohio Attorney Generals Office at: 800-282-0515 or local: 614-466-4986. They are located at 30 E Broad St #14, Columbus, OH 43215 (Transit: E Broad St & N High St). For directions, please see Google Maps
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Ohio Missing Persons Community Support:
- Ohio Attorney General: ‘In this traumatic time do not cut yourself off from others who can support you such as family, friends and clergy. Talk to your doctor if increased stress is affecting your health.”
- Team Hope: The mission of Team HOPE is to assist families with missing, exploited and recovered children by offering peer support including empowerment, emotional support and coping skills from a trained volunteer who has had or still has a missing or exploited child.
Sources: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/06/human_trafficking_report_relea.html, Natalie Villacorta; http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2010/02/11/ohio_report_cites_human_trafficking/, Matt Leingang; http://www.ohiocathconf.org/I/Trafficking/Trafficking