Sex Trafficking and Violence in Ohio by Dorie Schram

Anthony Talbott’s very educational talk on human trafficking on Monday night really opened my eyes. He made me realize that human trafficking is not just something that you hear about happening in distant places, but something that happens right here in Ohio. Some facts he stated were surprising and outraging to me. Toledo is the #4 city in arrests and investigations related to child sex trafficking. 1,078 American-born Ohio youth have been trafficked into sex trade in the past year. In a broader sense, 100,000 children are exploited for commercial sex in the United States.

This is a very serious issue as human trafficking severely traumatizes its victims. Many times they not only lack access to showers and enough food and water, but also are often handled roughly. There are three types of sex trafficking in the U.S.: residential/underground brothel settings, escort services, and pimp-controlled prostitution. Most victims of sex trafficking were vulnerable and somehow tricked into the business, whether it was through false romantic involvement or the offer of food, shelter, and a seemingly legitimate job. Because they go willingly and are from vulnerable backgrounds, sometimes they can be stuck in these bad situations for many years.

I worked at a shelter for teenage victims of domestic violence during my senior year of high school and was able to see first hand how much of an impact ongoing violence can have on people’s lives. Activism and advocacy are very important in helping end this serious human rights violation. We need to get active and make a difference for those who lack the information or tools to change their circumstance themselves. To help, you can contact groups like Abolition Ohio and join in their work to end human trafficking.