People who escape human trafficking need housing, counseling and, frequently, treatment for alcohol or drug addiction. If advocates cannot provide for these individuals’ basic needs, victims often will return to pimps who can.
The number of coalitions in Ohio battling human trafficking — which include social workers, law enforcement and activists — has grown from one to 11 during the past six years, but more than one-fourth of Ohio’s counties still are not served by a group. And many of the existing groups have small staffs and limited resources. Few of the coalitions receive federal funding and the number of people involved vary from group to group, said Elizabeth Ranade-Janis, who started in January as the state anti-trafficking coordinator. Ranade-Janis said a new agreement to work with child advocacy centers across the state should expand services into areas that might not have a coalition.
Another resource shortage is housing, none of which has been added since Governor John Kasich’s Human Trafficking Task Force in 2012 identified temporary housing as one of the biggest challenges to effective efforts combating human trafficking in Ohio. Only one temporary housing facility, located in Bowling Green, operates statewide. Efforts to open facilities in Mansfield and Columbus are under way, but most victims still are housed in homeless or domestic violence shelters, which have limitations.
Learn more at Linda Martz’s, Hannah Sparling’s and Jessie Balmert’s The News-Messenger article: Services for human trafficking victims remain a patchwork.