COLUMBUS—The Senate passed legislation today sponsored by State Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) and State Senator Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville), which would strengthen criminal penalties for individuals who are convicted of promoting prostitution in Ohio.
If signed into law, the bill would prohibit any person from knowingly taking part in the creation or operation of any enterprise that facilitates engagement in sexual activity for hire, such as a brothel.
“Senate Bill 244 will put human traffickers in prison. Often the evidence required to prove human trafficking places a threat to the victims safety and well-being," said Senator Dolan. "With the increased penalties authorized in this bill, law enforcement can put human traffickers away by charging them with the promoting of prostitution.”
The Department of Homeland Security, as well as federal and local law enforcement agencies have been key components in the development of Senate Bill 244 and a driving force behind increasing penalties of these heinous crimes.
"We have found a direct link between human trafficking and prostitution in our state," said Manning. "In some ways, it is similar to the opioid epidemic in that it can destroy the lives of Ohioans who get trapped in a cycle that they cannot emerge from by themselves. I am proud to support this bill, which takes further steps to toughen the penalties for those who perpetuate this abhorrent form of modern-day slavery."
This legislation compliments a series of bills passed over the last several years aimed at combatting human trafficking, through better enforcement, increased penalties and efforts to promote greater public awareness.