COLUMBUS, OH (FOX19) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today released a report outlining findings of an Ohio sex trafficking study that centered around 328 self-identified human trafficking victims.
The report took more than a year to compile and focuses on minor and adult sex trafficking across the state.
Researchers spoke with victims primarily in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo, finding that the more than a third of the sample said they were trafficked for sex before the age of 18.
A striking majority of female victims also said they were recruited by other women also involved in the sex trade or who acted like a friend.
The study also focused on the lives of the victims before they were trafficked, identifying several similar early indicators that can be viewed as high-risk factors for other Ohio youth who have not yet been involved in the child sex trade.
Of the victims who spoke retrospectively about their childhood experiences:
• 63% reported they ran away from home at least once
• 59% reported they had friends who were involved in selling themselves
• 47% reported being raped more than a year before they were trafficked
• 44% reported being victims of abuse
"The number of victims who were runaways before their involvement with sex trafficking is very telling," said DeWine. "Right now our Missing Persons Unit at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation works with local law enforcement and families to locate runaways. We need to get to the root of the problem and make sure these kids don't slip through the cracks."
For a copy of the Human Trafficking Commission report, including comparison data between Ohio's metropolitan communities, click HERE.
For a copy of the Human Trafficking Commission recommendations, click HERE.