(Columbus) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has released the first annual Human Trafficking Statistics Report, as required by Ohio's Safe Harbor Law.
The law requires that local law enforcement agencies collect information on human trafficking cases and send the data to the Attorney General's Office.
"I am proud of Ohio's efforts to increase attention to the issue of human trafficking," said Attorney General DeWine. "Viewing victims of human trafficking as victims in need of services, rather than prostitutes deserving of jail time, represents a major paradigm shift for law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and the public."
According to the report, local law enforcement has reported 30 human trafficking investigations of 21 suspected traffickers over the past year. The investigative efforts have resulted in 15 arrests and 17 prosecutions.
Authorities identified 38 sex trafficking victims, with the majority of these victims ranging between 18 and 29-years-old. 21 victims were identified as having alcohol and/or drug dependency issues, and 12 were listed as being oppressed, marginalized, or impoverished.
Law enforcement broadly mentioned drugs, the internet, and elements of force, fraud, or coercion as the three largest categories that traffickers used to recruit their victims.
These numbers may not contain all of the investigations that were conducted by local law enforcement that were eventually prosecuted at the federal level and cases that are protected under confidentiality laws.
The next report will be issued in January 2014 and annually each January thereafter.
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