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Human Trafficking Problem In Ohio Examined

Story By: Brian Skowronski



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  Original Published: 3/10/2014

Human Trafficking has become a huge problem in the state of Ohio, but many area residents may not fully understand the dark issue and signs to look for when these tragic cases occur.

Guest speakers Sandy Sieben and Ashley Wickerham with the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition spoke at the Richland County Democratic Women's Caucus Monday afternoon to shed light on the matter, beginning with the basic substance behind the controversial industry.

Wickerham says "There's two different kinds, sex trafficking and labor trafficking and it's when an individual is victimized and then sold for a monetary amount against their will."

Because of Ohio's geographic location with state lines and Canadian borders nearby, Sieben says that it is a hot spot for trafficking. In 2010 "over 150 sex trafficking victims were discovered in the state of Ohio. Seventy-eight in Toledo, Ohio actually alone." Sieben says.

The speakers gave the crowd red flags to look for in a trafficking situation, stating that children under the age of 18 were the most common victims and will generally miss several days of school at a time and will likely be accompanied by a significant other much older than they are.

Wickerham says that runaways are the number one people at risk of trafficking and that missing children should be pursued immediately.

If a girl between the ages of 12-17 are victims of human trafficking, shelter will be available for them in Richland County through Rahab's Hideaway. More information can be found at http://rahabshideaway.org/

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