New law reveals sex trafficking data - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

New law reveals sex trafficking data

(Toledo News Now) -

Attorney General Mike DeWine has just released the latest numbers on human sex trafficking in Ohio.

It's all part of a new law requiring law enforcement agencies to collect data on trafficking cases and report it to DeWine's office. That law, Ohio House Bill 262, was written by State Representative Teresa Fedor.

According to DeWine, authorities identified 38 trafficking victims in Ohio. Most of them were between the ages of 18 and 29.

Of those, 21 were identified as having alcohol or drug dependency issues.

Numbers also reveal the 30 cases included investigation of 21 suspected traffickers, resulting in 15 arrests.

"I think they're accurate for right now," said Fedor of the figures.

House Bill 262 prevents a young person from being charged with prostitution if they're a victim of trafficking, but Fedor believes the cases are under-reported because they're not being treated as trafficking.

"We're turning this around," she said. "Data is very important to collect, and law enforcement is getting the training they need, but we need more training for law enforcement, prosecutors and judges."

The Toledo area has been identified as a major human sex trafficking hub. Fedor estimates four of the 30 cases reported by DeWine occurred in Toledo.

"We have identified over 100 pimps in Toledo," she said. "We know this operation is still going on in our neighborhoods. A lot of our victims are transported across borders."

Fedor is behind another bill which increases penalties for trafficking offenders and adds more protection for victims.

"It's a crime. Prostitution, lots of it is victimization. There's someone behind that prostitution," she said.

The bill passed the Ohio House on Thursday.

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