TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - For years, human trafficking was not an issue on the minds of those living in northwest Ohio.
Local teacher Jeff Wilbarger started the Daughter Project. Four years ago, he opened his Wood County shelter for victims aged 10 to 17. Six girls live there at a time and see doctors and counselors after police rescue them.
Wilbarger says he is fully behind Senate Bill 4, which would allow people convicted of crimes, found not guilty or had charges dismissed to have their criminal records cleared if the accusation happened while they were a victim.
Victims 17 and under already have protection under a similar law, but Wilbarger says he wants a similar law for adults.
"We should step up and be part of the solution," Wilbarger said. "Help them get rescued but that's just the starting point. Getting them rescued out of that setting,, well they're not just going to turn their lives around. They need all that help."
Meanwhile, Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp says it is time to take a more aggressive approach to get pimps of the streets.
"So this is our responsibility, the entire community's responsibility to make sure that these young kids are safe," Sheriff Tharp said. "And so it's important that human trafficking is a priority."
WTOL also heard from Advocating Opportunity, a group of attorneys that helps Toledo victims. They say Senate Bill 4 should also include other crimes that victims are forced to commit, like theft and drug possession.