HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN OHIO
What is Human Trafficking?
- Human trafficking is a crime in which people profit from the control and exploitation of others.
- Human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry.
- Human Trafficking involves force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
Where is Human Trafficking Occurring?
- It is happening in the United States of America in all 50 states and DC and all around the world.
- It happens in both rural and urban areas.
- It is happening in Ohio.
- Ohio ranks as one of the top states for number of calls made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
- Ohio also has one of the largest interstate systems in the nation, making it easier for traffickers to transport victims.
Who is trafficked?
- Victims are adults and children, male and female.
- This crime does not discriminate based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, or age.
- Often it is our most vulnerable who are trafficked.
- The average age of entry for victims of sex trafficking is 12-14 years old.
Who are the traffickers?
- Traffickers are anyone using force, fraud or coercion to exploit another for profit.
- They may look like the stereotypical pimp portrayed in the movies, but they likely look like the people you associate with every day.
How does one become a victim of human trafficking?
- Some are lured believing they are obtaining a legitimate job, …such as working as a nanny, working as a model, working on a farm, working in construction, etc.
- Many are targeted and befriended by traffickers due to the identification of a need that the traffickers will seek to temporarily fulfill to gain the trust of the victim before victimizing them. Some examples of those who are targeted include the following:
- those who are bullied.
- those who have been in foster care.
- those who have previously been sexually abused.
- those who are homeless.
- those who have developmental disabilities.
- Some are sold by their own families or by those whom they consider to be friends.
*Examples are not all inclusive.
How can you help in the fight against human trafficking?
- Educate yourself and others.
- Be a conscientious and informed consumer. There are many resources to review supply chain tracing information prior to making purchases to ensure the chain does not include child or forced labor.
- Volunteer with and/or support anti-trafficking efforts.
- Become a mentor – traffickers often target those who lack strong support systems.
- Look for ways that awareness information/training can be shared in your company/organization
- Be aware of your surroundings – if you see something, say something.
- Victims often appear nervous.
- Victims often do not make eye contact with others.
- Victims may have signs of abuse, such as bruising.
- Victims may appear to be in poor physical health, such as showing signs of malnourishment.
- Victims often do not have control of their money and identification documents and often have few personal belongings.
- Victims may have someone with them who never seems to leave their side and/or may talk on the victim’s behalf.
- Victims may not know where they are due to being disoriented from being transported or moved around frequently.
*This list is not exhaustive. All situations are not identical, and the red flags listed may not be present in all human trafficking situations.
- Take the following steps if you suspect that someone is a victim of trafficking:
- Call 911 if someone appears to be in immediate danger.
- Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 (US) or text INFO or HELP to BEFREE (233733). They will contact the appropriate law enforcement and those who are trained to help to ensure those sent to help are knowledgeable about human trafficking.
- This can be done anonymously.
- Provide as much information as possible, such as descriptions of cars and people and specific dates and locations.
- DO NOT approach traffickers or alert victims of your suspicions. This would be dangerous for you and may also put the victim at risk of more danger.