Sheriff Tharp's Office begins training staff to identify human trafficking

Sheriff Tharp's Office begins training staff to identify human trafficking
(Source: WTOL)

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - Senator Sherrod Brown came to Toledo last week announcing bipartisan legislation to help law enforcement identify human trafficking and how addiction is used as a tool to control victims.

"This training is new for human trafficking," Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp said. "We haven't provided human trafficking education for our corrections officers and deputies ever."

Sheriff Tharp says these men and women have the most contact with vulnerable people arrested and booked at the Lucas County Jail.

"But these individuals that are arrested they may also be procures of prostitution, promoting prostitution they may be involved with human trafficking," he explained.

Sheriff Tharp and addiction specialists told trainees the use of drugs like heroin and opiates to manipulate victims is on the rise.

"Also the addiction of the individuals who are trafficking," Sheriff Tharp said. "Some of them will trade their family members to dealers for sex."

"Women and girls and men being arrested for drug charges and they actually might be involved in trafficking and so if the correctional staff is trained in what to look and what to do, I believe more people will get help," Mental Health Counselor at A Renewed Mind Cara Rearick said.

"It's kind of, it's on us now," Arnisha Bush, a Lucas County Corrections Officer Trainee said. "You know because a lot of them just don't come out and say hey, I have a pimp that's waiting for me in the car."

Bush says this training is important for all law enforcement who interact with people who may be in need.

Sheriff Tharp also says this training will be a permanent addition to his officer's training.

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