Monday, July 9, 2012

Ohio House Bill 262

House Bill 262 improved and expanded Ohio’s human trafficking laws beyond merely criminalizing human trafficking (which is as far as previous law went) by creating avenues to target demand; to criminalize traffickers more severely; to aid victims; to train law enforcement and state officials; to track data; and to raise public awareness. A copy of the bill in pdf format can be found here: The Central Ohio Rescue & Restore Coalition is grateful to Governor Kasich for prioritizing this bill and for signing the bill into law on June 27th.

  • Targeting the Demand
    • H.B. 262 added a provision to the criminal offense “Importuning” (2907.07) to specifically target those who purchase sex with minors (see page 19 of the bill).
      • The criminal offense of “Importuning” (2907.07) already criminalized soliciting anyone under the age of 16 to engage in sexual activity, whether or not the offender knows the age of the victim.
      • Under this new provision, soliciting anyone age 16 or 17 to engage in sexual activity is also criminal, but only if the victim was a human trafficking victim AND the offender knows or recklessly disregards the age of the victim.
      • Depending on the age of the child and whether or not the offender has previously been convicted of similar crimes, the offense is a second, third, fourth, or fifth degree felony.
    • H.B. 262 added a provision to the criminal offense “Procuring” (2907.23) to specifically target those who purchase sex with minors (see page 21 of the bill).
      • The criminal offense “Procuring” (2907.23) already criminalized procuring a prostitute for someone else or knowingly allowing prostitution to happen on one’s premises. The offense is a first degree misdemeanor.
      • Under this new provision, “Procuring” is a fourth or fifth degree felony if the prostitute procured is under the age of 18, whether or not the offender knows the prostitute’s age.
  • More Severely Penalizing Traffickers
    • H.B. 262 changed the criminal offense “Trafficking in Persons” (2905.32) to a first degree felony and changed the prison term to be imposed to 10 – 15 years (see page 19).
    • H.B. 262 changed the criminal offense “Obstructing Justice” (2921.32) so that those who aid traffickers are guilty of second degree felony (see page 23).
    • H.B. 262 added sex traffickers to the list of criminals who must register as sex offenders (see page 41).
  • Aiding Victims
    • H.B. 262 created a specific civil action for victims of trafficking (see page 15).
      • This gives trafficking victims the ability to sue their traffickers in civil court for lost wages and monetary damages.
      • Damaging amendments: As originally written, H.B. 262 specified that the trafficking victim may bring this cause of action whether or not the trafficker had been prosecuted or convicted of human trafficking. As passed, H.B. 262 now says a victim may bring this cause of action for damages “result[ing] from the violation of section 2905.32 of the [Ohio] Revised Code.” Due to these changes, it is now unclear whether or not a trafficking victim may bring a cause of action if there is not a conviction under Ohio’s human trafficking law, such as where the conviction was under federal law or where the trafficker was never prosecuted or convicted at all.
    • H.B. 262 added a provision stating that nothing in the Crime Victims Fund should be construed to block victims of human trafficking from accessing victim fund assistance as long as they were minors when they were victimized (see page 18).
      • This appears to be in response to complaints by trafficking survivors that they have had trouble accessing Crime Victim Fund assistance. The reason trafficking survivors have had trouble, however, was because many of them have long criminal records and/or felony convictions. This new provision will not address those concerns.
      • This new provision also neglects trafficking victims who were first victimized during adulthood.
    • H.B. 262 created a Victims of Human Trafficking Fund to be administered by the Director of Jobs and Family Services (see page 58). The fund will consist of money seized in connection with human trafficking investigations conducted under state law and from money made from the sale of assets seized in connection with human trafficking investigations conducted under state law.
      • The depth of the fund will depend entirely on the amount of human trafficking investigations that occur. H.B. 262 does specify however, that other money from other sources may be deposited into the fund.
      • Typically, money and assets seized through criminal investigations go toward law enforcement. This funds future investigations and incentivizes law enforcement agencies to pursue these investigations. Streaming all of this funding straight into this victim’s fund instead might discourage and de-fund future human trafficking investigations.
    • H.B. 262 created a new avenue for trafficking survivors to expunge delinquency adjudications relating to prostitution (charges under 2907.24, 2907.241, and 2907.25) (see page 11). (Delinquency adjudications relating to prostitution could already be expunged under 2151.358.)
    • H.B. 262 created an avenue for trafficking survivors to expunge criminal convictions adjudications relating to prostitution (charges under 2907.24, 2907.241, and 2907.25) (see page 52). 
      • Under previous law, someone could only have criminal charges relating to prostitution expunged under 2953.32 if it was their first offense.
      • This new provision creates a valuable avenue for survivors of trafficking who sometimes have as many as sixty prostitution related convictions. It does not go as far as to vacate their convictions, however, which would be preferable. Although expungement of a conviction means that the record is sealed, vacating a conviction essentially reverses the conviction as if it never happened. Thus, expunged convictions must still be reported on things like job applications whereas vacated convictions do not need to be reported at all.
    • H.B. 262 created a provision that says that when a child is charged with prostitution (under 2907.24, 2907.241, or 2907.25) the juvenile court must make a determination on whether or not the child is a sex trafficking victim (see page 14). This may include a hearing. If the child is determined to be a victim, the court will hold the complaint in abeyance for ninety days while the child completes diversion actions. Although the new provision does not specify, typical diversion actions ordered by the court are things like therapy and community service. If the child completes these diversion actions, the court may then dismiss the complaint as if it never happened.
    • Training State Officials and Tracking Data
      • H.B. 262 requires that the Attorney General’s office create an extensive training for peace officers (law enforcement agents) on human trafficking that must include information on (see page 6):
        • Identifying human trafficking situations
        • Methods for identifying victims of human trafficking
        • Appropriate techniques for interviewing victims of human trafficking
        • Prosecuting human trafficking
        • Collaborating with social service organizations
        • Protecting the rights of trafficking victims by treating them as victims rather than as criminals
        • Protecting the safety of trafficking victims
      • H.B. 262 requires that peace officers receiving training on human trafficking as part of their minimum basic training (see page 4). This training will not necessarily be the training created by the Attorney General’s office mentioned above.
      • H.B. 262 strongly recommends that all boards, commissions, and agencies that grant licensures or certifications on behalf of the state of Ohio require people receive training on human trafficking before they can be licensed (see page 58).
      • H.B. 262 requires the Attorney General to gather data on human trafficking and publish it regularly (see page 2).
        • Each state agency and each agency of each political subdivision that investigates human trafficking (although it does not specify, this may be referring to local police departments and child protective services) is required to submit human trafficking data to the Attorney General for this publication.
        • Data that is required to be reported includes:
          • Numbers of investigations, arrests, prosecutions, and successful convictions
          • Number and demographic characteristics of traffickers and their customers
          • Number and demographic characteristics of victims, including how they were recruited
          • Discovered trafficking routes and patterns
          • Social and economic factors contributing to the demand for human trafficking
    • Public Awareness
      • H.B. 262 created a provision stating that the Attorney General’s office may, if it chooses to do so, create public awareness programs about human trafficking (see page 7).
        • The provision instructs that these programs should be designed to increase awareness among potential victims of human trafficking and to educate them about how to protect themselves.
        • The Attorney General’s office must consider information and materials offered by nonprofits and other entities with expertise in human trafficking while preparing these programs.
      • H.B. 262 requires the division of criminal justice services to create a poster with the national human trafficking hotline number (see page 59).
        • The division must then make this poster available online and encourage its display at truck stops, hotels, and other places where human trafficking might occur.
        • There is no civil or criminal penalty if these entities choose not to display the poster.

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Words from Megan, Gracehaven Case Worker

    Last week I drove two hours away to testify in court for a young woman I had been working with. She was incarcerated for a crime committed while she was being sexually exploited. I was there to testify about the work I had done with her over the last year and a half and the type of character I saw in her.

    Standing in that courtroom and telling the judge what my experiences were with her took about two minutes. I drove 4 hours for 2 minutes. I got up at 5:00 AM for 2 minutes. A lot can happen in 2 minutes. A life can change in 2 minutes.

    The judge asked me, "You drove here from Columbus to be here today?" Then he mentioned it about two more times. Apparently, it was a big deal to him. After the hearing, I found out why. The parole officer came up to me afterwards and said, "I have been working in this job for 20 years and in 20 years I have never seen anyone testify in a juvenile case. If they are lucky, their mothers come. That's it. No one has ever testified in a juvenile case. It's unheard of." The public defender came up to me and said, "Make no mistake, your testimony made all the difference, no one testifies in a juvenile case."

    I was a little surprised, but then I got to thinking about it and it made sense. These kids don't often have any support. And the people going into the correctional facility to work with these kids are few and far between. Who would know them? Who would know about their lives and be able to testify about their potential? And when I thought this, I teared up. It was too painful a thought to think of all the kids, faces I know, who don't have anyone to get to know them, support them, believe in them. And I was really grateful for what Gracehaven had been doing.

    Oh, and she got out of the correctional facility and was put on parole so she could go back home to her two children.

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Holiday Shopping Guide by Tabitha Woodruff

    Excited to start your shopping but upset about how the holiday demands for cheap products encourages labor trafficking around the world? Here are some ideas on how to keep your holiday slavery-free!

    Global Gallery
    Global Gallery sells Fair Trade clothes, coffee, chocolate, musical instruments, toys, purses, paper, household wares, and much more! There are two Global Galleries in Columbus: one in Clintonville (3535 N. High St.) and one in the Short North (682 N. High St.). 

    Ten Thousand Villages
    This is by far the best place to find the widest variety of Fair Trade products in my opinion. They have everything: jewelry, bags, scarves, hats, frames, vases, dishes, rugs, planters, baskets, lotions, soaps, stationary, toys, instruments, holiday decor, and more! The nearest physical locations are 115 S. Main St., Bluffton and 2011 Madison Rd., Cincinnati. 

    Made by Survivors
    The variety of Fair Trade products here is nearly as vast as that found at Ten Thousand Villages. Buy their high quality silver jewelry, bags, t-shirts, ties, scarves, paper, rugs, and more!

    Thistle Farms
    Thistle Farms is a social enterprise run by the Magdalene program, a program for sex trafficking survivors in Nashville, Tennessee. Program residents and graduates make a living wage through Thistle Farms by making soaps, lip balms, lotions, candles, and more!

    Sari Bari
    All products are made from used saris and by women rescued from the red light district of Calcutta, India. Find quality purses, bags, scarves, quilts, pillows, baby blankets, and more at incredibly cheap prices!  

    Divine Chocolate
    Much of the world's cocoa is harvested by children and slaves, but all the cocoa used to make Divine Chocolate's delicious chocolate is Fair Trade! Their candy bars are available at Global Gallery, while their cooking cocoa, mini chocolate pieces, fudge, chocolate after dinner mints, and other products can be found through their website.

    Fair Trade
    Everyone keeps talking about Fair Trade products, but what does Fair Trade mean? Fair Trade companies sign an agreement with a regional Fair Trade organization (like operating under Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International ( which allows Fair Trade certifiers to inspect them and ensure that they comply with Fair Trade standards, including: living wage for all workers; no child labor; no forced labor; safe working conditions; environmentally sustainable practices.

    Social Accountability International
    There are a number of popular retailers who might not be Fair Trade certified, but who work with organizations similar to Fair Trade to ensure that their products are not produced by slaves. One such organization is Social Accountability International, which works with Crate and Barrel,  the GAP, and other major retailers. Keep an eye out for certifications that model the same values as Fair Trade! For a list of organizations that work with SAI, visit this website: 

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Learn How Attorneys Can Fight Human Trafficking!

    Anti-Human Trafficking Attorney Training

    Wednesday, September 28
    9am - 5pm
    OSU Moritz College of Law, Saxbe Auditorium
    55 W 12th Ave., Columbus, Ohio

    This training is open to all areas of law, including, but not limited to Criminal, Civil, Juvenile, Family, Immigration, etc.This training also has limited space for non-attorneys.

    Purposes of this training are to raise awareness of human trafficking among legal professionals and to train and recruit attorneys willing to provide pro-bono services to victims of trafficking throughout the state of Ohio. Any participant who provides 10 hours of pro-bono services to victims of trafficking will be refunded their registration fee.

    The training will include the following: the definition and scope of human trafficking, Federal and Ohio Human Trafficking Law, Victim Advocacy, a Panel on Collaboration, and a discussion of human trafficking cases. 
    9:00-9:10  Welcome (Carter Stewart Invited)

    9:10-9:45 - Human Trafficking 101

     9:45-10:15 – Overview of Federal Human Trafficking Law 

     10:15 -10:30 – Break

    10:30 -11:00 - Overview of Ohio Human Trafficking Law 

    11:00-12:00 - Victim Advocacy

     12:00-12:45 - LUNCH

     12:45 - 1:45 Panel Discussion: 
    The Importance of Collaboration 

    FBI  - Kristen Cadieux
                      ICE – Amy Allen
    Dept. Of Labor – George Victory
    CATCH – Judge Paul Herbert
    CPD – Aaron Dennis

    1:45 - 2:45 - Case Review: Break-Out Groups

     2:45 – 3:00 – BREAK

     3:00-5:00 - Case Review: Large Group Discussion

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    How Can I Impact Human Trafficking Legislation?

    You may think that it’s impossible to influence legislators if you’re not a corporate lobbyist. That is a myth! In a democracy, the most powerful lobbying tool is your vote as a constituent! Your legislators want to know what they need to do to win your vote!

    Lobbying Basics:

    Contact the legislator who represents you and your district. If you’re a voter from District 19 and you contact a legislator from District 7, he or she has no reason to listen to your concerns. Legislators must represent the interests of their own constituents and district.
    When collecting letters, have everyone sign their name, print their name, and provide their full address. Later, look up their legislator online using their address and then fill in their legislator’s name.

    Don’t assume your legislator knows the issue. Your legislator probably doesn’t know how to stop human trafficking and may not even know what it is. Be sure to explain the problem and the solution.

    Be specific. Simply asking a legislator to fight human trafficking is vague and un-measurable. Give your legislators clear measurable goals like “become a co-sponsor of bill S.1301” or “vote S.1301 out of committee.” 

    Follow-up with the legislator later with a ‘thank/spank.’ Thank her for listening to your concerns then ask her if he or she’s followed through with her commitment. If he or she has, thank her again. If he or she hasn’t, politely express your disappointment.

    Be brief and courteous. Legislators and their staff are very busy people. Keep your meetings, letters, and phone calls as brief and direct as possible. Do not be rude and never be late to an appointment.

    How should I get in touch with my legislator?

    The more personalized and genuine your communication with your legislator is the better. The following techniques are all effective, but are listed from least effective to most effective.

    If you have people sign a petition to send to a particular legislator, be sure they write down their address to ensure that they’re all from that legislator’s district. 

    Draft Letter
    These can be done online or in hard copy. For them to be more effective, deliver hard copies in person to the legislator’s office and leave a space for people to write in a personalized message. 

    Handwritten Letter
    Leave five minutes at the end of your next meeting for everyone to write a short, handwritten letter to their legislator! 

    Phone Call
    Have a call-in day! Ask all your colleagues and friends to call-in to their legislators on a particular day. 

    In-Person Meeting
    This is most effective. A legislator will not refuse a meeting to a constituent with a clearly articulated concern. If the legislator is too busy to meet with you, her staff will meet with you. Go to this meeting with one or two other people. Bring materials to leave with the legislator. These meetings typically last less than twenty minutes.

    How do I figure out who my legislators are?

    First, use your full address to find your zip code +4 at this website:
    You’ll use your zip code +4 to find your legislators at the websites below.

    Federal Level:

    At the federal level, you have two senators and one representative representing your interests.

    Each state has two senators who represent the entire state. Each state has handful of representatives (the number of representatives is determined by the population of the state). States are divided into districts, and representatives each represent a different district in their state. Thus, while you and everyone in your state have the same two senators, you and your neighbor may have different representatives depending on where the district lines are drawn.

    To contact your Ohio senators, visit this website:
    To find your federal level representatives, visit this website:
    State Level:

    At the state level, you have one senator and one representative representing your interests. The state of Ohio is divided into 33 senatorial districts and 99 representative districts. Each senator and representative represents a different district in the state. 

    To find your state level senator, visit this website:
    To find your state level representative, visit this website:

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Systemic Misperception of Child Sex Trafficking: Criminalizing Statutory Rape Victims

    By Tabitha Woodruff, 2012 Juris Doctorate candidate, the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law,

    The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 formally recognized all child prostitutes as victims of sex trafficking under federal law.  Sex trafficking is considered a severe form of trafficking, and so children recognized by the federal government as victims of sex trafficking are provided a wide range of services and precluded from prosecution for prostitution. 

    This policy shift remedied the stark contradiction between statutory rape law and criminal prosecution of child prostitutes.  Under statutory rape law, any child who has had sexual contact with an adult is considered a victim.  The policy underlying statutory rape law insists that children are unable to give legal informed consent to sexual activity because they are often cognitively incapable of thinking through the full consequences of their actions, and so are incompetent to make such decisions.  They are also easily influenced, manipulated, and taken advantage of, so the law automatically recognizes any adult who has sex with a child as a rapist.  However, if the adult hands the child money after the sexual activity, the child is now considered a criminal for activity that, in any other circumstance, the child could not consent to.

    Child prostitutes taken into custody under federal jurisdiction are thus precluded from criminal prosecution and linked to a multitude of various services.  In contrast, child prostitutes taken into custody under state jurisdiction are criminally charged with prostitution and sentenced. Unfortunately, New York, Washington, Vermont, Minnesota, Illinois, Tennessee and Connecticut are the only jurisdictions to recognize this contradiction between federal and state law, remedied through the Safe Harbor for Exploited Child Act.

    Treatment of Juvenile Prostitutes under Federal Law

    Since the passage of the TVPA, the federal government has established various task forces around the country to rescue persons from sex and labor trafficking.  When federal authorities uncover a situation where a child is working as a prostitute, it is considered sex trafficking regardless of whether or not the child was “forced” to be a prostitute.  That child, now officially recognized by the federal government as a “victim of severe trafficking,” cannot be criminally prosecuted for prostitution: 

    “The TVPA creates regulations to deal with girls detained for juvenile prostitution in the context of their status as trafficking victims, and thus their immunity from prosecution for sex-related crimes. First, it forbids detention in ‘facilities inappropriate to their status as crime victims,’ meaning that they will no longer be processed through the juvenile detention systems or held with other minor detainees. Instead, federal agents must place them in facilities for crime victims, such as shelters for victims of domestic violence or other kinds of abuse.” (Schwartz 257).

    The child is then provided with a wide range of services, including:

    victim housing, medical care, protection from retribution, and a special allowance to remain in the country regardless of immigration status…short-term and immediate services such as language assistance, secure emergency shelters, medical, dental and mental health services, food, clothing, and legal assistance, to long-term services such as life skills training, employment assistance, continued legal assistance, independent permanent housing, and ongoing mental health services.”  (Brittle, 1346-7).

    Any foreign child brought into the country for prostitution is handled by the federal government, since federal jurisdiction was established when national and state borders were crossed.  Unfortunately, federal jurisdiction cannot reach many American children suffering the same fate, who are often prostituted without crossing any state or national borders.  These American child prostitutes, in contrast to foreign child prostitutes, face a much harsher fate.

    Ohio: Systemic Criminal Treatment of Child Sex Trafficking Victims

    In Ohio, child prostitutes are arrested and criminally prosecuted for either solicitation, loitering to engage in solicitation, or prostitution under Ohio Revised Code §§ 2907.24, 2907.241, and 2907.25 respectively.  A child convicted under these statutes is categorized as a “delinquent child,” which is defined by Ohio R.C. § 2152.02(F) to include

    “Any child, except a juvenile traffic offender, who violates any law of this state or the United States, or any ordinance of a political subdivision of the state, that would be an offense if committed by an adult.”

    Notice that as a “delinquent child,” a child prostitute is recognized as a criminal, not as a victim.  Once recognized as a “delinquent child” they are subject to sentencing under R.C. §§2152.18 and 2152.19, which apply only to delinquent children.  The juvenile court system gives judges great leniency in deciding the sentence of a juvenile offender under these statutes based on that particular child’s situation.  A delinquent child’s sentence may include any one or any mix of the following:

    ·         Commitment to a detention facility for up to ninety days,
    ·         Commitment to the temporary custody of a school, camp, institution, or any other facility operated for the care of delinquent children,
    ·         Community service,
    ·         Probation,
    ·         House arrest,
    ·         Requirement to work or remain in an education, vocational, or treatment program,
    ·         Alcohol or drug use monitoring, assessment, counseling, or treatment program,
    ·         Curfew,
    ·         Suspension of driver’s license or permit,
    ·         Commitment to the custody of the court,
    ·         Treatment instead as an “abused, neglected, or a dependent child”.

    Juvenile court judges are precluded from sentencing a delinquent child to any jail, workhouse, or corrections facility intended for adults, although a delinquent child may be held in one for up to six hours under R.C. §2151.311 directly following arrest. 

    Similarly situated children convicted for similar offenses are supposed to have comparable sentences throughout the state, and judges are expected to make these comparisons.  However, because a child’s family situation, criminal and academic record, and prostitution situation can vary greatly, child prostitutes can face vastly different sentences.  Some child prostitutes are committed to a secured facility, others put on probation, while still others are put into counseling and foster care. 

    An informed intuitive judge may choose to recognize a child prostitute as an “abused child” instead of as a “delinquent child.”  An “abused child” is defined by R.C. §2151.031 to include, among other definitions:

    “any child who: (A) Is the victim of “sexual activity” as defined under Chapter 2907 of the Revised Code, where such activity would constitute an offense under that chapter, except that the court need not find that any person has been convicted of the offense in order to find that the child is an abused child.”

    As victims of statutory rape (R.C. §§2907.04 & 2907.05), all child prostitutes arguably fit this definition more appropriately that the definition for a delinquent child.  It takes little analysis to note: “Juvenile prostitutes are technically victims of rape during each sex act performed.”  (Schwartz 236). If a child prostitute is fortunate enough to be recognized by a judge as an “abused child” under the law, different rules govern how the state can handle this child.  According to R.C. §2153.353(A)(1) and (2):

    “(A) If a child is adjudicated an abused, neglected, or dependent child, the court may make any of the following orders of disposition:
    (1) Place the child in protective supervision;
    (2) Commit the child to the temporary custody of a public children services agency, a private child placing agency, either parent, a relative residing within or outside the state, or a probation officer for placement in a certified foster home, or in any other home approved by the court.”

    Hence, an abused child is presumed to be a victim, not a criminal.  Furthermore, an abused child may not be held in a detention facility under R.C. §2151.312(B)(2). 

    If an adult is convicted for compelling prostitution (pimping) under R.C. §2907.21, the persons that the convicted adult compelled into prostitution should not be convicted of prostitution.  For the rare occurrences where children are arrested alongside the pimps who are trafficking them, these children sometimes are allowed an affirmative defense to any charges under R.C. §§2907.24, 2907.241, and 2907.25.  Unfortunately, when adults are convicted of solicitation under §2907.24 or statutory rape under R.C. §§2905.04 or 2907.05 after purchasing sex from a child, the child is not given the same affirmative defense to the prostitution charges.  Adults purchasing sex from children are rarely charged with statutory rape and are instead primarily only charged with solicitation according to SAGE director Norma Hotaling (Heiges 444).

    New York Model: A Shift toward Alliance with the Federal Policy

    The Safe Harbor Act for Exploited Children was signed into law in New York on September 25, 2008. Through this legislation, New York officially adopted a state model in-line with the federal model for handling child sex trafficking victims.  The Act made three major changes: (1) created the definition “sexually exploited child” to be used for child prostitutes instead of the delinquent child definition, (2) mandated the creation of catered social service programs for child sex trafficking victims, and (3) changed a charge for child prostitution from a criminal delinquency charge into a person in need of supervision (PINS) charge (Schwartz 260).

    The Act defines a “sexually exploited child” as any child who has been the victim of sex trafficking or compelling prostitution; is an abused child as defined by law; or engaged in prostitution or solicitation.  This formally recognizes all child prostitutes as victims, not criminals, under the law.   A child prostitute may then be charged and convicted of prostitution, but only as a PINS charge, not as a criminal charge.  A child may still sometimes be criminally convicted for prostitution or solicitation, however; the court simply “presumes” that a child prostitute is a sexually exploited child.  This “presumption” can be disproved if the prosecution can prove that the juvenile is not a victim of severe trafficking, is a repeat prostitution offender, is already subject to supervision via a preexisting PINS petition, or has expressed an unwillingness to cooperate with treatment.” (Schwartz 264).  If this presumption is disproved, the child is again regarded as a delinquent child instead of a sexually exploited child and is subject to criminal prosecution for prostitution or solicitation.

    The difference between a delinquency charge and a PINS charge is important; even though a PINS charge is not a criminal charge, it still gives the state the jurisdiction to take the child into custody and follow-up with regular supervision.  A PINS child cannot be held in a secured detention facility, although a court may commit them to a shelter, foster care or a parent or guardian’s custody.  Any child who is found to be habitually disobedient, frequently truant, dangerous, or out of control may be charged as a PINS child.  PINS charges include violating curfew and underage smoking and drinking.  The Act added prostitution to this list, changing it from a delinquency charge to a PINS charge for all juvenile cases.  

    This diversion of child sex trafficking victims from the penal system to the child welfare system necessitates the creation of shelters and social services for victims of child sex trafficking.  New York, with little funding to allocate toward such endeavors, did the best it could with what it had.  The Act mandated that each locality develop a framework for addressing the needs of child sex trafficking victims by mobilizing pre-existing resources toward this undertaking (Schwartz 262).  Although states hoping to adopt New York’s model may be intimidated by the funding implications for providing more comprehensive services to child sex trafficking victims, a long-term perspective on this problem suggests that the establishment of safehouses is not only a financially plausible, but a financially efficient option:

    “The legislature and child welfare system may initially balk at the recommendation on the basis that therapeutic safe houses are too expensive. However, a simple cost-benefit analysis performed by the appropriate local legislative agency should put this concern to rest. If the money currently allotted for an abused child for residential placement (including any subsidies provided to foster parents), mental health counseling, medical services, educational resources, and any special needs services is rolled into one lump sum and multiplied by the number of sexually exploited youth, it seems clear that establishing therapeutic safe houses is the most cost-efficient way to provide the services these youth so desperately need.” (Brittle 1373).

    Adopting New York’s model is theoretically cost efficient from a comprehensive perspective as well.  Providing child sex trafficking victims with a genuine opportunity to escape prostitution is a cheaper, more effective option than discarding them as criminals over and over again throughout their adolescence and on into adulthood. Treating child sex trafficking victims as criminals does not free them from cycle of sexual exploitation as successfully as comprehensive therapeutic rehabilitation can.


    Ohio’s hesitance even to propose a comprehensive Safe Harbor for Exploited Children Act is regrettable considering the prevalence of human trafficking, particularly child sex trafficking, within this state:

    Toledo is currently number four in the nation in terms of the number of arrests,
    investigations, and rescue of domestic minor sex trafficking victims among U.S. cities…Given that the city of Toledo’s population is 298,446 and Lucas County’s is 440,456, this area can be considered to lead the nation for the number of traffickers produced and the number of victims recruited into the sex trade per capita. (Ohio TIP Study Commission 13).

    Ohio waited until over 40 states made human trafficking a stand-alone felony under state law before enacting its own comprehensive human trafficking criminal provision. It is in the best interest of Ohio’s children that we not wait to be one of the last states to stop criminalizing our children for their sexual exploitation.  Considering the prevalence of Ohio’s child sex trafficking problem, Ohio’s children would be best served if Ohio took the initiative to become one of the first.


    Kate Brittle, Note, Child Abuse by Another Name: Why the Child Welfare System is the Best Mechanism in Place to Address the Problem of Juvenile Prostitution, 36 Hofstra L. Rev. 1339 (2008).
    Moira Heiges, Note, From the Inside Out: Reforming State and Local Prostitution Enforcement to Combat Sex Trafficking in the United States and Abroad, 94 Minn. L. Rev. 428 (2009).
    Ohio Rev. Code Ann §§2151.01-2152.19 (West 2010).

    Ohio Rev. Code Ann §§2907.01-27 (West 2010).

    Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission Research and Analysis Sub-Committee Report on the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in Ohio To Attorney General Richard Cordray (2010)

    Shelby Schwartz, Harboring Concerns: The Problematic Conceptual Reorientation of Juvenile Prostitution Adjudication in New York, 18 Colum. J. Gender & L. 235 (2008).

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    What is human trafficking like in the United States?

    More than 2,515 incidents of human trafficking were investigated by federal funded task forces led primarily by local law enforcement agencies between January 2008 and June 2010. Below you’ll find a brief summary of the Department of Justice report listing statistics gathered on these investigations. For the full report, visit:
    The Investigations
    • ·         48% involved allegations of adult sex trafficking
    • ·         40% involved allegations of child sex trafficking
    • ·         350 incidents involved allegations of labor trafficking
    • ·         30% confirmed to be human trafficking
    • ·         38% confirmed not to be human trafficking
    • ·         Remaining 32% cases are still open
    • ·         98% of sex trafficking cases were investigated by law enforcement agencies
    • ·         82% of labor trafficking cases investigated by multiple collaborating agencies
    • ·         49% of sex trafficking cases were investigated by multiple collaborating agencies
    • ·         29% of labor trafficking investigations were led by federal agencies
    • ·         7% of sex trafficking investigations were led by federal agencies

    The Victims
    • ·         527 confirmed human trafficking victims
    • ·         87 victims were foreign
    • ·         94% of sex trafficking victims were female
    • ·         68% of labor trafficking victims were female
    • ·         13% of sex trafficking victims were 25 or older
    • ·         62% of labor trafficking victims were 25 or older
    • ·         83% of sex trafficking victims were U.S. citizens
    • ·         26% of sex trafficking victims were white
    • ·         40% of sex trafficking victims were black
    • ·         63% of labor trafficking victims were Hispanic
    • ·         17% of labor trafficking victims were Asian
    The Traffickers
    • ·         488 confirmed suspects
    • ·         144 arrests
    • ·         81% of confirmed suspects were male