Raising Awareness: This Ohio City Battling the Highest Human Trafficking Rates

Raising Awareness: This Ohio City Battling the Highest Human Trafficking Rates

Human trafficking is a grave offense wherein individuals are exploited for labor or sexual exploitation using force, deceit, or coercion. As per the U.S. Department of State, human trafficking represents a contemporary form of slavery impacting millions globally, including within the United States.

Ohio stands out as one of the states with a notably high number of reported human trafficking cases nationwide, securing the fifth position in state rankings. With a human trafficking rate of 3.84 victims per 100,000 residents, Ohio holds the fourth-worst ratio on a national scale.

Toledo: The Human Trafficking Hub of Ohio

Toledo, situated in the northwest corner of Ohio near the borders with Michigan and Indiana, distinguishes itself among the cities in the state due to the highest number of reported human trafficking incidents.

With a population of approximately 276,000 people, Toledo holds the position as the fourth-largest city in Ohio.

Referred to as the “human trafficking hub” by some experts and advocates, Toledo’s prominence in this issue extends beyond the state to the national level.

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Toledo recorded 148 human trafficking cases in 2020, constituting more than 10% of the total cases in the state.

Raising Awareness: This Ohio City Battling the Highest Human Trafficking Rates

In 2019, Toledo also secured the fourth spot in the nation for the highest number of calls made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Read More: The Hidden Crisis: High Human Trafficking Rates Exposed in This Delaware City

Factors That Make Toledo a Hotspot for Human Trafficking

Toledo is a hub for human trafficking due to a number of factors.

One of them is its location, which offers quick access to important thoroughfares that link to neighboring states and cities, like I-75, I-80, and I-90. Traffickers have the ability to move their victims across state boundaries so they can be exploited in other marketplaces.

The city’s socioeconomic circumstances also play a role, as they produce a population that is susceptible to being targeted by human traffickers.Compared to the state and national averages, Toledo has a high unemployment rate, poor educational attainment, and high poverty rate.

People may become desperate for possibilities as a result of these circumstances and more receptive to deceptive offers of jobs, money, or love.

The desire for commercial sex in the metropolis, which supports the sex trafficking business, is a third element. A research conducted by the University of Toledo estimates that 11,000 men pay around $6.5 million a year for sex purchases in Toledo.

The study also discovered that the majority of Toledo’s prostitutes are African American women from low-income families, with an average age of initiation into the profession of 13 years old.

Read More: This City in Florida Has the Highest Human Trafficking Rate in the State

Official’s Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking in Toledo

To address the issue of human trafficking in Toledo, various initiatives have been undertaken by law enforcement, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and community groups. These efforts include:

Raising Awareness: This Ohio City Battling the Highest Human Trafficking Rates

1. Formation of the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, a collaborative team of stakeholders focused on preventing, identifying, and responding to human trafficking in the county.

2. Implementation of the Ohio Safe Harbor Law, offering legal protection and services to minor victims of human trafficking, along with increased penalties for traffickers and buyers of sex.

3. Establishment of the Lucas County Human Trafficking Court, a specialized court providing diversion and treatment programs for adult victims of human trafficking facing prostitution-related charges.

4. Development of the RISE Program, a residential facility offering shelter, counseling, education, and life skills to female survivors of human trafficking aged 18 to 24.

5. Launch of the Not in My Town campaign, a public awareness and education initiative aiming to highlight the issue of human trafficking in Toledo and mobilize the community to combat it.

Read More: Raising Awareness: This City in Maryland Faces Crisis With State’s Highest Human Trafficking Rate

To Conclude

Many people in Toledo, Ohio, and elsewhere are impacted by the complicated and widespread problem of human trafficking. It is an infringement on human rights and dignity that calls for a thorough and cooperative response. Together, we can try to put a stop to this contemporary slavery and give the victims their freedom and justice back.

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