Two local organizations team up to fight sex slavery

Two local organizations fight sex slavery

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Two local organizations are banding together to fight heinous crime occurring right here in our backyards, sex slavery.

The Salvation Army in Cincinnati is partnering with End Slavery Cincinnati meaning more resources allocated to stopping this horrible crime.

Erin Meyer helps run the new Anti-Human Trafficking Program. She says the coalition serves all victims of trafficking, adding the partnership means a chance to directly serve all victims of trafficking through emergency case management.

"Whether they are adults, minors, us citizens, foreign nationals, males, women, females, labor trafficking or sex trafficking," said Meyer.

Advocates say this extra help is much needed right here in Cincinnati. FOX19 first told you about the far reach of this problem in our investigation in May. In early August, the Ohio Attorney General's Office released 29 pages of information on the issue.

Researchers spoke with more than 300 self-identified victims in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. The report is the first of its kind to break down information by location revealing a third of the victims in Cincinnati are under the age of 18.

The majority of victims here both dropped out of school and had an older boyfriend. As for the customers, the majority in Cincinnati are factory workers, construction workers, city employees and drug dealers.

Those working to stop the problem say awareness is key. Several groups are scheduling classes and the Ohio Attorney General's Commission is planning webinars offering them to train the community on how to spot signs.

"We hope that people will come and discuss the issue, give us our feedback so that we can have a more collaborative and collective strategic plan to combat the issue here in Cincinnati," said Meyer.

The coalition also established a new 24-hour emergency response line. You can call 513-800-1863 with tips, requests and referrals.

If you think you've come in contact with a victim but aren't sure how to respond or if you need support, call and you could save a life.

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