(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Attorney General Dave Yost joined members of the Ohio House and Senate today to announce major legislative initiatives targeting human trafficking in Ohio.
The proposed legislation separates the buying and selling of sex into different criminal offenses, establishes a criminal offense for knowingly receiving proceeds from a prostitute and creates a public registry for arrests of Johns, pimps and traffickers.
“Basic economics works under the premise of supply and demand – and right now we have a demand problem in Ohio,” Yost said. “Our goal is to reduce the demand and in return rescue victims from this modern-day slavery. Making that a reality starts by unmasking and penalizing those who buy sex or profit from human trafficking.”
The legislative initiatives, introduced in the Ohio Senate, are sponsored by Senator Tim Schaffer.
“The objective of this bill is to target all aspects of prostitution to ensure that we punish those who are fueling this humanitarian crisis,” Schaffer said. “I appreciate Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s initiative and support on this issue.”
The legislative initiatives, introduced through two separate bills in the Ohio House, are sponsored by Representatives Jena Powell, Rick Carfagna and Cindy Abrams.
“I am excited to work on crucial legislation to help fight human trafficking in the state of Ohio,” Powell said. “We want to do everything we can to protect men, women, and children in our state, and this is a step in the right direction.”
“I am proud to stand with Attorney General Yost in his efforts to end human trafficking,” Carfagna said. “It’s time to hold accountable those who prey on the vulnerable and perpetuate this problem. Establishing a public database for Johns, pimps, and traffickers will properly expose these criminals, and cause others to think twice before engaging in illegal, exploitative behavior.”
“I am pleased to announce my first piece of legislation tackling an issue that has significantly plagued our state for years,” Abrams said. “I have observed firsthand how prostitution on the street has fueled drug addiction, sex trafficking, and the spread of disease. This public database will absolutely be a deterrent for the Johns; in no longer allowing them to remain anonymous, we are shedding light on this crime that will effectively decrease the demand and effect real change. I want to thank Attorney General Yost for his leadership and support on these issues and I look forward to working with him and others on these topics.”
Under Attorney General Dave Yost’s direction, the Crime Victim Services section now houses employees dedicated to human trafficking initiatives. These experts in the field work daily to raise awareness about human trafficking while cultivating partnerships with likeminded organizations. Yost’s Organized Crime Investigations Commission task forces, along with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, successfully fight the demand of human trafficking through sting operations. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office will hold a Human Trafficking Summit on Jan. 9, 2020, in Columbus.