COLUMBUS, Ohio (ADAMS) – The Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) announced the results of a human trafficking study that analyzed the extent to which youth and young adults are exploited in Ohio.
The study, which was conducted by the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice with a grant from OCJS, examined data from more than a dozen sources to calculate more precise estimates of known juvenile victims and at-risk young adults.
“This study demonstrates that it is imperative that Ohio’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems are equipped with appropriate resources to identify and serve victims of human trafficking and the youth who are at risk to be victimized,” said Governor Mike DeWine.
The study identified 1,032 juvenile human trafficking victims between 2014 and 2016. Researchers also identified 4,209 youth who were at-risk for trafficking victimization.
“Obtaining reliable data is essential to implementing informed anti-trafficking policy,” said Sophia Papadimos, State Anti-Trafficking Coordinator. “The University of Cincinnati and collaborating partners have provided the state with new prevalence estimates that will help guide Ohio’s human trafficking response efforts.”
The Ohio Department of Public Safety has spearheaded multiple statewide initiatives to address sex and labor trafficking, including the creation of a human trafficking awareness campaign, training for all state employees in a regulatory or inspection role and the creation of a human trafficking intelligence component of the Ohio State Highway Patrol 24/7 watch desk. Additionally, OCJS was awarded federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice to increase identification of survivors and improve outcomes for child and youth victims of human trafficking.
“Ohio has made tremendous progress toward understanding and combating human trafficking, and this study further demonstrates the state’s commitment to that end,” said Dr. Valerie Anderson, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati. “We are hopeful that the findings of this study, an inventory of data capacity and tracking, will lead to the creation of tools and systems that will ultimately help identify and respond to victims of human trafficking.”
The results of the University of Cincinnati’s study are publicly available here