Senate District 11
Teresa Fedor
Fedor, Kunze, Galonski, Richardson Host 13th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Summit
March 7, 2022
Today, state Sens. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard), and state Reps. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) and Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville) hosted the 13th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Summit. This virtual, day-long event brought together survivors, advocates and experts from throughout Ohio and the U.S. who are working to put an end to all forms of human trafficking.

“No effort is too small or insignificant in the fight to end human trafficking, once and for all,” said Senator Fedor, who has worked to pass anti-human trafficking legislation for nearly two decades. “It takes vigilance and commitment and advocacy from all of us to make a difference in whatever capacity we can. My hope is that everyone who attended the event will take what they learned back to their workplaces, classrooms, families and neighbors to raise awareness and make a difference in their own communities.”

This year’s event also included a special session on how human trafficking impacts victims’ family members, presented by Carolyn M. Kinkoph, the parent of a human trafficking survivor. Kinkoph, who has become an advocate and co-founder of the proposed Lake County Collaborative to End Human Trafficking, shared the story of how she became aware of her daughter’s victimization and the difficulties they experienced as a result. She also discussed the indicators of victimization, the impact of social media and how parents of human trafficking victims can seek help.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to co-host this year’s virtual Human Trafficking Awareness Summit with my colleagues,” Rep. Galonski said. “I hope that our attendees found today’s event informative, and that they will take the knowledge they gained back to their communities. Ohio has made great progress in its fight against human trafficking, but we still have much more work to do. It’s up to all of us to eradicate human trafficking in Ohio.”

“Through collaboration, compassion, and sound policymaking we are continually taking steps to ensure justice for victims of human trafficking. I am thankful to each person who presented information, provided resources or shared their story today. Increased public awareness is the first crucial steps in fighting this often unnoticed epidemic,” said Senator Kunze. “Each person who has endured these heinous crimes has a story that strengthens my resolve to continue our fight against the evil that continues to plague our nation and our state.”

During the lunch break, attendees had the opportunity to watch the documentary “The Silence” (2019), a short film that aims to break the silence around child abuse by telling the stories of four children who experienced abuse and neglect prior to being placed in the foster care system. The documentary can be viewed here.

“As a leader in Ohio, it is a priority for me to be part of stopping the victimization of human beings who are being trafficked throughout our state and to be an advocate for survivors of human trafficking,” Rep. Richardson said.

The day featured 12 different breakout sessions on topics ranging from the role that child welfare plays in the response to commercial sexual exploitation of children, post-conviction tools in Ohio to help human trafficking survivors move past their criminal records, the role that human trafficking plays in criminalized labor and more. The event also included panels featuring survivors of human trafficking, who spoke on topics like the impact this issue has on mental health, human trafficking of men and boys and their own personal experiences.  Twenty-five different speakers presented throughout the event, including more than 15 survivors.

“Senator Teresa M. Fedor believes in empowering survivors to thrive in Ohio,” said Harold D’Souza, a survivor of human trafficking who is the co-founder and president of Eyes Open International. “Blessed to participate on the 13th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Summit on March 4th. Senator Fedor takes the initiative in educating, enlightening, and encouraging survivors to live a happy life forever.”

“This will be my third year speaking at the summit and every year I’m so grateful to share this experience with other amazing survivors; I feel at home with them,” said Haleigh Young, a survivor of human trafficking. “It’s a safe space where survivor’s voices are elevated and our experiences are treated as expertise. Our stories are proof that we do get out, we do heal, and we thrive.”

A full list of speakers, presentation descriptions and the day’s agenda can be found here.
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