(COLUMBUS, Ohio)— Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today signed Executive Order
2021-02D to enhance Ohio’s work to respond to and prevent human trafficking.
The order expands the Ohio Governor’s Human Trafficking Task Force to include five additional state agencies that will assist the task force in pursuing new, strategic, and comprehensive strategies to combat human trafficking.
The new task force agencies include:
- Ohio Department of Commerce
- Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
- Ohio Department of Transportation
- State Medical Board of Ohio
“Ohio’s Human Trafficking Task Force has worked aggressively to implement lasting and effective strategies to identify and serve victims through our state systems,” said Governor DeWine. “The expansion of the task force will strengthen Ohio’s coordinated state-level response to human trafficking to ensure that survivors have access to services and that traffickers are brought to justice.”
The new order also directs the task force to collaborate with the administration’s Children’s Initiative and RecoveryOhio Initiative and instructs the task force to establish updated priorities and to evaluate current policies to identify gaps and solutions.
In carrying out these activities, the task force will continue to focus on identifying sex and labor trafficking and on building capacity of state systems to serve survivors inclusive of men, women, and children, both foreign and domestic.
The task force, established in 2012, is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services.
“I appreciate Governor DeWine’s strong commitment to the fight against human trafficking,” said Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Sophia Papadimos. “While commendable progress has been made since 2012, gaps in our systems still exist and the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force will remain vigilant to advance the work of justice for survivors of human trafficking.”
Other state agencies represented on the task force include the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Department of Medicaid, Ohio Department of Youth Services, Ohio Department of Public Safety, Ohio Department of Health, and Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board.
January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, help is available by calling 888-373-7888 or by texting INFO or HELP to 233733.