human trafficking

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R-Ohio) speaks at the Human Trafficking summit organized by his office.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost wants state and community leaders to send a message throughout Ohio that there's help out there for survivors of human trafficking.

Red Roof Inn is one of the hotel chains being sued by sex trafficking survivors.
Mike Mozart / Flickr

Attorneys for sex trafficking survivors are asking a federal judge in Columbus to consolidate more than 20 cases into the U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio.

Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Westerville) says a new bill in the Ohio Statehouse would increase penalties for johns and pimps.
Ohio House

Ohio lawmakers are proposing a new bill to bring tougher penalties against people who recruit and force others into prostitution, as well as the "johns" who pay for it.

Donna McMullen holds a photo of her daughter, Jessica, who died in September.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

“That’s my mommy, look!” Three-year old Adalynn McMullen points a little dimpled finger at a collage of photos on a trifold board.

The photos show her mom, Jessica McMullen, over the years – from when she was in diapers to just a few years ago, holding Adalynn on her lap.

Michael Coghlan / Flickr

The Salvation Army has opened a West Side drop-in center for survivors of human trafficking.

CATCH Court graduate Melissa Callaway hugs her sister.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Graduates walked into the atrium of the Ohio Statehouse, greeted by cheers from their friends and loved ones. One by one, they step up to the microphone.

“I spent 37 years of my life a homeless drug addict, a victim of human trafficking on the streets of Columbus,” says Barb Davis. “I truly knew it was my destiny to die out there.”

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announces the results of a sex trafficking sting on September 13, 2019.
Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau

A three-day, multi-agency, undercover human trafficking sting in Central Ohio has resulted in the arrest of 104 people. This sting is just the latest in statewide efforts to combat human trafficking.

Updated at 4:32 p.m. ET

The Navy has apprehended 18 Marines and one sailor over their alleged involvement in human smuggling, drug offenses and other crimes, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service said.

Sixteen of the Marines were arrested in highly public fashion at a major West Coast military base Thursday.

On Thursday morning, after some 800 Marines gathered in formation at Camp Pendleton north of San Diego, Marine officials working with NCIS pulled out 16 people and placed them under arrest, as NPR's Tom Bowman reported.

Operation Home Run and Operation Triple Play took place over four days and led to the arrest of 50 men, most of them local.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says Operation Home Run focused on arresting “johns” who solicit women, not knowing if they are victims of human trafficking.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

Federal prosecutors have charged multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein with sex trafficking of minors and paying victims to recruit other underage girls, accusing Epstein of creating a network that allowed him to sexually abuse dozens of young victims.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York announced two counts against Epstein on Monday morning: one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking, according to the indictment.

Epstein appeared in court Monday afternoon and pleaded not guilty.

Sunflower Asian Spa was shut down by the city in April. The City Attorney's Office claims the massage business was a front for human trafficking.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

“NO SEX SERVICE!!!!!” screams a sign outside the now-shuttered Sunflower Asian Spa. Yet that's exactly the reason why the city of Columbus shut down the spa in early April.

Cleveland Avenue is considered a hot spot for sex work.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Advocates say referrals to a Franklin County specialty docket for people arrested for sex work were down 50 percent in 2018, at least in part because of the suspension and eventual disbandment of the Columbus Division of Police's Vice Unit.

How Is Ohio Changing Its Response To Sexual Violence?

Apr 1, 2019
Forensic analyst India Henry works on evidence in a sexual assault case in the biology lab at the Houston Forensic Science Center Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Houston.
Pat Sullivan / Associated Press

For one Ohio trafficking victim, the opening of the accredited rape crisis center at the YWCA Dayton last year proved crucial to quelling her inner demons, which lingered long after the physical pain subsided. For years, her abuser raped and beat her daily.

The latest human trafficking study is out. It determined the number of victims in Ohio from 2014-2016 who were minors and young adults.

Kansas Jayhawks practice during the opening rounds of March Madness in Des Moines, Iowa, 2016.
Phil Roeder / Wikimedia Commons

By the time thousands of basketball fans get into Dayton for the First Four NCAA basketball tournament this week, illegal sex trafficking encounters will have been set up there for weeks. Savvy traffickers know events that attract lots of people are an easy way to hide their illegal activity.

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