Q: Human trafficking is all over the
news lately. What is it?
trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons
(TIP), is a form of modern-day slavery in which profit is made from the control
and exploitation of others. As defined under Ohio and federal law, victims of
human trafficking include:
children involved in the sex trade;
adults age 18 or over who are coerced,
manipulated or deceived into performing commercial sex acts;
anyone forced into different forms of
“labor” or “services,” such as domestic workers or farm-workers forced to work
against their will.
Each of these situations has one or more
of the following in common:
of force, including physical abuse or the threat of physical abuse;
or coercive control that, much as in the case of victims of domestic abuse,
often involves emotional and mental manipulation, although it does not always involve
violence. The Ohio Trafficking in Persons statute requires only that a victim’s
will be “overcome by force, fear, duress or
Q: How does human trafficking affect
me in Ohio? Doesn’t this mostly happen in foreign countries?
A: Ohio ranks fifth in the nation for human trafficking. Unlike guns and
drugs, human beings can be sold time and time again. Human trafficking is one
of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world, including Ohio, and second only to drug trafficking.
recent study estimates that 1,078 of Ohio’s children are lost to sex
trafficking every year. The Ohio study also revealed:
· 88 percent of Ohio’s human trafficking involves sex slavery;
· 84 percent of Ohio victims are American born.
Q: How does human trafficking happen
A: There are two major reasons Ohio ranks fifth in the nation for human
Ohio’s large urban centers and rural counties include a large transient and
immigrant population. Language barriers and transience make trafficking
difficult for authorities to recognize.
Ohio’s five major highways are convenient for human traffickers who sell in
other states and in Canada.
Q: Is prostitution considered human
A: Yes. Most prostitutes in Ohio are controlled by pimps, drug dealers,
strip club operators, internet sex and escort providers, and drug house
operators. Because prostitutes are largely controlled by force, fraud, fear,
duress or other coercive control techniques, they are considered victims of
human trafficking, regardless of their age. Researcher and author Catharine
MacKinnon explains that, in prostitution, money “…acts as a form of force, not
as a measure of consent.” According to abolitionist Kathleen Barry, oppression “cannot
effectively be measured according to degree of consent, since even in slavery
there was some consent, if consent is defined as inability to see, or feel any
this reason, the Franklin County Municipal Court in Columbus, Ohio created a
specialty docket court called CATCH (“Changing Attitudes to Change Habits”), to
assist human trafficking victims who have been changed with commercial sex
acts. CATCH Court’s Judge Paul Herbert has said that “the world’s oldest profession
is the world’s oldest oppression.”
Q: How might I recognize human trafficking in Ohio?
A: "Red flags," such as the
abbreviated list below, suggest that human trafficking is occurring. A person may be a victim of human trafficking
if he or she:
· lacks freedom
to come or go;
· indicates an inability
to move or leave a job;
is under 18 and is providing
commercial sex acts;
is in the commercial sex industry and
is controlled by a pimp, drug dealer or other “manager”;
is unpaid, paid very little, or paid
only through tips to perform a service;
works excessively long and/or unusual
Q: What can I do if I think someone in
Ohio is a victim of human trafficking?
A: With as much detail as possible, contact the National Human Trafficking
Resource Center Hotline 24 hours a day/7days a week at 1-888-3737-888.
This “Law You Can Use” column was
provided by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). It was prepared by Judge
Gregory F. Singer of the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court with assistance
from Tonya Folks, development director for BeFreeDayton.org, an abolitionist
organization. The column offers general information about the law. Seek an
attorney’s advice before applying this information to a legal problem.
Labels: human trafficking, sex crimes, slavery