Enforce Laws Already on the Books
Citizens for Community Values (CCV) has long recognized the connection between human trafficking and the prevalence of sexually oriented businesses such as strip bars, massage parlors, escort services and pornography stores. Last year, CCV asked Steve Wagner, a former employee and expert on human trafficking for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), to write tough anti-trafficking legislation to protect girls and women from the worst type of abuse. That legislation was ignored by the Ohio General Assembly.
Instead, the legislature created the Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission. Now the Commission tells us what common sense already told us: more than 1,000 children under the age of 18 were sex-trafficking victims in Ohio during the past year, and another 2,879 youth were at risk of being trafficked. An additional 783 foreign-born persons were trafficked for sex or forced labor in Ohio in the past year, with another 3,437 at risk.
The Commission said that human trafficking is the second-largest crime in the world affecting at least 18,000 women and girls in the U.S. each year. Another 300,000, many of them girls as young as 11, are vulnerable. Instead of passing the tough law that CCV recommended, our legislators passed a law that the Commission called “weak.”
The Commission noted that Toledo is behind only Miami, Florida, Portland, Oregon, and Las Vegas in the sex trafficking industry. What do all these cities have in common? Sexually oriented businesses, with Toledo boasting more per capita than any other city in Ohio. What’s worse is that these sex businesses are supported by newspaper advertising. Some, like the Toledo Blade and the Columbus Dispatch make millions off these establishments that abuse girls and women.
Two years ago the legislature passed the Community Defense Act (CDA) by a 75% majority. CDA requires that all sexually oriented businesses must end their activity at midnight; if they do not have a liquor license, they must not operate between midnight and six in the morning. CDA also prohibits strippers from touching men. This legislation is a powerful tool that law enforcers can use to help victims.
CALL TO ACTION:
Send a copy of this e-mail to your local police department and elected local and state officials, asking them to protect abused girls and women in the following ways:
- Strongly enforce the Ohio obscene pornography law where selling, renting or giving away an adult movie is a felony.
- Strongly enforce CDA statewide.
- Pass tough new anti-trafficking laws that CCV recommended. (Click here to see a copy of CCV’s proposed anti-trafficking law and click here to find your elected state officials.)