The number of reports of human trafficking in Ohio went up in the last year. Now a state lawmaker who’s been working on the issue for years wants to protect more minors who are victimized.
The state’s safe harbor law shields adult victims of human trafficking from prosecution for prostitution or similar crimes. Democratic Rep. Teresa Fedor of Toledo wants to extend that to 16- and 17-year olds, which she says she’d wanted when the safe harbor law passed in 2012.
“We don’t allow rape in any other sense in our society and in our laws. Why would we allow rape for a victim of human trafficking that’s being sold like chattel, like a pair of shoes?”
Fedor announced her proposal surrounded by teenage students from across the state who were at the Statehouse to talk about the issue. Many of them said they were unaware that human trafficking was happening in Ohio before they got involved, and that education of their peers is essential.