My wife Debbie and I raised two daughters, and, like any parent, the stories of suffering and pain that follow from human trafficking crimes weigh heavily on me.
Unfortunately, we see and hear the local stories about human trafficking nearly every day.
According to a recent article in the Dayton Daily News, “During the past 12 months, 26 child advocacy centers across state identified 65 minors and seven adults who are potential victims of human trafficking, including the six children younger than 7.”
The paper also reports, “More than 1,000 Ohio children are victims of human trafficking annually and 3,000 more are at-risk of becoming victims in one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the world.”
These are kids right here in our home state – in our communities.
The fact that such heinous and despicable crimes are happening in our local area is simply horrifying. While our state and local officials, law enforcement, and community outreach leaders are doing great work to help address the issue, we should all be compelled to take action.
It’s why House Republicans have passed more than a dozen bills to make our families safer, bring modern slave traders to justice, and give victims the comfort, counseling, and care they need to reclaim their lives. Providing law enforcement and human services personnel the tools, resources, and training they need to prevent trafficking and to better support its victims is critical to addressing this issue.
I was also pleased to hear about the local leaders and law enforcement in Clark County who recently came together and created a human trafficking task force to help victims and prosecute offenders.
And just last month, our governor signed into law a bill that protects our children by further cracking down on human trafficking crimes against minors.
From the local level on up, we must do all we can to protect the most vulnerable and provide law enforcement with the resources they need to combat human trafficking. As a father, I will continue doing everything I can to prevent one more victim from being robbed of his or her most basic human rights. These crimes are particularly monstrous and must be stopped.