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For Immediate Release: January 15, 2014
Contact: Kristen Castle (614) 728-46-23
S/Lt. Anne Ralston (614) 752-2792

Human Trafficking a priority at Department of Public Safety

COLUMBUS – Due to the fact that Ohio is geo-located in the heartland of the United States, several interstate highways throughout Ohio allow it to be a major transit point from the midwest to the eastern seaboard. These same roadways that are used legitimately are also being used by human traffickers and smugglers to transport their victims and further their operations.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) is committed to combating human trafficking in Ohio through the work of its various divisions. Below is a list of what these divisions are doing to combat this modern day form of slavery:

  • The Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) recently released a toolkit to offer service providers, coalitions and advocates with a victim-centered framework and capacity building tool as they work to assist survivors in their own communities. To view the toolkit, please visit http://www.publicsafety.ohio.gov/ht.
  • OCJS hired Elizabeth Ranade-Janis as Ohio’s first coordinator against human trafficking.
  • The Ohio State Highway Patrol has trained more than 3,000 state employees on identifying, confronting and preventing human trafficking. In addition, troopers are trained to identify signs of human trafficking during traffic stops. For example, in August 2013 troopers discovered two female human trafficking victims during a traffic stop in Lucas County.
  • The Ohio Investigative Unit has the boots on the ground in industries that may harbor or promote human trafficking. While they are conducting routine operations in liquor establishments they have been trained to identify signs of human trafficking.
  • Ohio Homeland Security, in coordination with its state and federal partners, is actively promoting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign. This campaign is a unique initiative to coordinate and enhance efforts to address human trafficking through public outreach, victim protection and law enforcement training. For more information on the Blue Campaign visit https://www.dhs.gov/end-human-trafficking.

For updates be sure to “like” the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ohioantiHT or follow on Twitter @OhioAntiHTrfk.

Governor Kasich created the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force by Executive Order in March of 2012. The Task Force marshals the resources of the state to effectively reduce the crime of trafficking in Ohio while gaining a better understanding of what trafficking looks like in the state. Comprised of 11 state agencies, including ODPS, the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force works to better coordinate statewide efforts to prevent and respond to human trafficking. The Office of Criminal Justice Services, a division of ODPS, is proud to lead the effort on many of the Task Force’s initiatives.

To report a trafficking tip, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline Resource Center at 888-3737-888 or text BeFree to 233733.

 

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