(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and the Columbus Crew are partnering to raise awareness of human trafficking in Central Ohio with a new public-service announcement that will play at the Crew’s Lower.com Field.
The video coaches soccer fans on how to recognize signs of sex and labor trafficking and how to report a potential problem. Beginning Aug. 6, the PSA will play in the pre-game scoreboard rotation at select Crew home games.
“Human trafficking knows no boundaries and unfortunately is happening in Central Ohio and across the state,” Yost said, “Our partnership with the Crew provides a unique, high-traffic venue to engage fans in our fight to sideline human traffickers. We’re thankful for the partnership in getting the message out that Ohio will not tolerate human trafficking.”
In 2020, there were more than 16,000 human trafficking victims and survivors nationwide, according to the nonprofit Polaris Project — enough people to fill the Nordecke fans section at Lower.com five times over.
AG Yost has worked diligently in Ohio to combat human trafficking. When he took office in January 2019, he created the Human Trafficking Initiative (HTI) to build awareness of the problem and empower Ohioans to take action. The regional human trafficking task forces of the Attorney General’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) have led operations resulting in more than 639 arrests statewide since the commission began collecting annual data in 2019.
The Columbus Crew is the latest professional or college sports organization in Ohio to join the battle against human trafficking. In March 2022, UD Arena at the University of Dayton took part in a poster campaign during the NCAA’s First Four basketball tournament games. Major League Baseball teamed with Yost’s office on a similar campaign in July 2019 during the All-Star Game in Cleveland.
The Crew PSA is akin to the PSA featuring Yost and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron that began running late last season and continues running this season during Cincinnati Reds home games at Great American Ball Park.
Human trafficking can happen at any time and in any location, the PSA tells soccer fans, and a person may be a victim if she or he:
- Is unable to come and go at will.
- Shows signs of physical, mental or emotional abuse.
- Appears submissive, fearful and/or nervous.
The PSA also arms Ohioans with the know-how to report suspected human trafficking to local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888). To view the PSA recorded in partnership with the Columbus Crew, click here.