Hundreds Forced into Labor and Sex Trade in Ohio Every Year

MATT LEINGANG writes in the Washington Post:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — About 1,000 American-born children are forced into the sex trade in Ohio every year and about 800 immigrants are sexually exploited and pushed into sweatshop-type jobs, a new report on human trafficking in the state said Wednesday.

Ohio’s weak laws on human trafficking, its growing demand for cheap labor and its proximity to the Canadian border are key contributors to the illegal activity, according to a report by the Trafficking in Persons Study Commission.

“Ohio is not only a destination place for foreign-born trafficking victims, but it’s also a recruitment place,” said Celia Williamson, an associate professor at the University of Toledo who led the research.

Formed last year by Ohio Attorney General Richard Condray, the commission also found that hundreds more in the state are at risk of being forced into sex trafficking or to work against their will in fields, restaurants, sweatshops or constructions sites.

Nationwide, between 45,000 and 50,000 people are trafficked into the United States, according to a 2001 report by the U.S. State Department. But Williamson noted that the problem is hard to quantify because of the underground nature of human trafficking, and studies often rely on estimates. Even the Ohio study, which analyzed law enforcement and government databases, is limited, she said.

Read More: Washington Post

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