State Rep. worries new casino will increase prostitution - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

State Rep. worries new casino will increase prostitution

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Could the world's oldest profession become a problem once Toledo's new Hollywood Casino opens? That's the warning from Toledo State Representative Teresa Fedor.

Fedor is the sponsor of a bill involving human trafficking and is urging the casino to take action to prevent prostitution. The Ohio House Bill 262 is known as the Safe Harbor Act, and will exempt a victim of human trafficking from Ohio's solicitation statute.

A victim who is a minor will be provided appropriate services which may include physical and mental health care.

"We need laws in place in the state of Ohio. And we're sending a message that there is help."

Fedor says there's no direct tie between the opening of Ohio's 4 new casinos and her legislation, but she worries the casinos will be a magnet for prostitution.

Fedor is urging casino employees be trained to spot prostitution activity, a way to better enforce her legislation.

"As we're expanding gambling in Ohio, we need to be prepared for these things. We need to be responsible for putting these measures in place and not wait until we have a problem."

Toledo attorney Peter Silverman of the Ohio Gaming Commission says the prostitution issue has not been raised to the Commission by the casino operators, but says casino workers are already being trained to recognize compulsive and underage gamblers and ones with drinking problems.

"My sense of the casino's fear is they plan to be very straight, clean-cut and would not tolerate any prostitution. Take steps that it wouldn't happen."

Fedor says there will be a committee hearing next week in Columbus on her bill.

A phone call to Toledo's Hollywood Casino for comment was not returned.

Copyright 2012 WTOL. All rights reserved.

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