The miraculous rescue of three kidnapped women in Cleveland also spotlights a more everyday tragedy — the estimated 1,000 Ohio children entrapped by the sex trade. “We are hopeful that the rescue in Cleveland will give other victims the strength to come forward, be reunited with their families, help to prosecute those responsible for these evil deeds, and begin the healing process,” Todd Lindgren, public affairs specialist for the FBI in Cincinnati said.
State Rep. Teresa Fedor, D-Toledo, hopes the case will provide impetus for the passage of House Bill 130. The bill aims to reduce consumer demand for sex trafficking, provide stricter and broader penalties for offenders, and eliminate the current requirement, in cases involving minors, that force, fraud or coercion must be proven in trafficking prosecutions. “If a 45-year-old has sex with a 16-year-old, we charge him with statutory rape; if the same 45-year-old purchases sex with a 16-year-old, we charge her with prostitution,” said Tony Talbott, a member of the Ohio Attorney General’s human trafficking commission and a University of Dayton lecturer in political science and human rights.
“Once you become aware of human trafficking, it’s really hard to ignore it,” Talbott said. “It is not a partisan issue. It’s the greatest human rights challenge of our times.”
Learn more at Mary McCarty’s Norwalk Reflector article: Can the ‘Cleveland miracle’ help change lives and laws?