It’s taken nearly a decade, but awareness about the problem of human trafficking in Ohio is now high. That was one theme today at a conference of dozens of police, social workers, and other activists who are fighting what they call “modern-day slavery.”
The advocates say that runaway girls, as young as 11, have been forced into prostitution, but the state has stiffened criminal penalties and cracked down in other ways. Governor John Kasich told the activists he backs their efforts.
Kasich: "We need to clean this state out. If we catch them, they're going to jail. We going to hang them up there for everybody to see, and we want them out. And we'll do everything that we can do."
An Ohio policeman told the crowd that police used to see the young prostitutes as criminals…but now, they’re being seen as victims of coercion and threats. A new state law aims to make counseling and job training available to them.