Over 160 people were arrested, among those a firefighter, a professor, a pilot, and a city council member, Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said as part as a state-wide anti-human trafficking operation. Operation Ohio Knows, coordinated through AG Yost’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC), was a collaborative effort that took place from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1 to address issues that fuel sex trafficking in Ohio.
“People who traffic other humans are doing it for a really simple reason — money. And if there’s no demand then there will be no market,” Yost said during a press conference at the Statehouse, where he was joined by leaders of law enforcement agencies and social service organizations. “Reducing the demand means we reduce the number of people who are victimized by human trafficking.”
Yost also said, “We will not rest until no one in Ohio buys or sells human beings.”
A pilot, not only purchasing sex; he haggled. “He got the price down to 15 bucks,” Yost added.
Also participating in the press conference with the attorney general was Mandie Knight, a human trafficking survivor, who spoke about the role law enforcement played on her road to recovery.
“When I was being trafficked, I knew that law enforcement was somewhere I could turn to when I needed a safe way out, and that’s what happened,” said Knight, now resource manager for Freedom a la Cart and a wife, mother and student in forensic criminology. “Had I not been arrested, had I not gone to jail, and had I not suffered some consequences for the decisions I was making, I wouldn’t be here today and I wouldn’t be as successful in life.”
Operation Ohio Knows is the latest anti-human trafficking operation under Attorney General Yost, whose office hosts an annual human trafficking summit and provides coordination, education and outreach on the subject.
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—By CNJ Staff