COLUMBUS— State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) applauded the awareness raised by today’s eighth annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day at the Ohio Statehouse. The event, organized by State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), brought together law enforcement officials, advocates and survivors from all over the nation for a day of discussion on ways to raise awareness and fight back against human trafficking in Ohio.
“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Rep. Fedor and countless others around the state, we are making significant progress and offering concrete solutions to end modern day slavery in Ohio,” said West. “Moving forward, we must ensure law enforcement officials and advocates have the proper resources and support that they need to protect victims and end the scourge of human trafficking.”
Numerous state officials and anti-trafficking advocates delivered remarks this morning, and hundreds of event attendees later participated in breakout panels focused on law enforcement and social work topics. A portion of the afternoon was reserved for human trafficking survivors to share their experiences.
This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Elaine Richardson, an author, artist, Ohio State University professor and human trafficking survivor.
Human trafficking is estimated to affect more than 1,000 Ohio children every year, and more than 3,000 Ohio children are considered to be at high risk for trafficking. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Information Crime Reports, Ohio has ranked as high as fifth among all states in total reported human trafficking cases, with Toledo ranking as the fourth highest city in the nation for recruiting victims into the illegal trade.
This year’s event will also include the first ever Ohio Youth Trafficking Prevention Summit focused on prevention and protection strategies for young people tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 3 from 9:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M.
The youth summit is free to attend but tickets are required. Those interested can register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/8th-annual-ohio-human-trafficking-awareness-day-youth-summit-tickets-28770533440