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Human trafficking remains a serious problem in Ohio

For three years now, Ohio law enforcement agencies have teamed up to conduct human-trafficking stings. But this year’s effort turned out to be the largest in state history — Operation Ohio Knows.

State Attorney General Dave Yost said 51 potential human-trafficking victims were helped, and 161 men were arrested in 17 communities. Among those arrests were an Elyria city council member, a firefighter, a teacher, a professor and more.

“We actually arrested a pilot who makes over $200,000 but not only was purchasing sex, but he haggled and got the price down to $15. We also arrested a guy with a two-year-old in the car,” Yost said last week.

Importantly, Yost said this sting was the first conducted since the penalty for buying sex has been more severe than selling sex.

“We want to make the point that you’re not just going out there on a private thing between two consenting adults. You’re taking the risk that that person is being trafficked,” Yost said.

U.S. Marshals also found 10 missing children during the operation.

Ohioans have had a lot on their minds lately. The attention being paid to human trafficking in our state has waned over the last year-and-a-half or so — at least for the general public.

But Yost’s announcement reminds us the law enforcement community has not forgotten and in fact is working even harder to help the victims and to put a stop to human trafficking in Ohio.

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