Fedor to Reintroduce Bill Protecting Child Sex Trafficking Survivors
February 11, 2019
Today, state Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) announced that she will reintroduce legislation to increase protections for underage survivors of sex trafficking.
The Protect Trafficked Minors Act would eliminate the current two-tiered system in child sex trafficking laws. During the last legislative session, this bill received bipartisan support and was approved by the Ohio House of Representatives. With legislative leaders signaling they plan to prioritize legislation to curb human trafficking, Senator Fedor is hopeful the bill will become law during the 133rd General Assembly.
“Every minute this bill doesn’t pass, another pimp targets a teenager in Ohio and gets away with it,” said Senator Fedor. “Our children need us to lead on this issue, not follow. They’ve waited too long for us to do the right thing.”
Currently, prosecutors are required to demonstrate force, fraud or coercion for a 16- or 17-year-old to qualify for the protections available to other minors. Ohio is one of the last states in the country to have this requirement. The Protect Trafficked Minors Act would also bring Ohio law into compliance with federal law, making available additional resources for the broader anti-human trafficking effort in the state.
“Survivors, prosecutors, law enforcement and more have made it very clear,” said Senator Fedor. “Our state needs to give them the legal tools to protect Ohio’s children from the horrors of human trafficking.”
Senator Fedor was instrumental in the successful passage of several bills to fight human trafficking in Ohio. In 2009, she helped pass legislation creating an Ohio Attorney General’s commission to study the issue in the state and a penalty enhancement for human traffickers. The following year, she secured passage of legislation making human trafficking a stand-alone felony and began hosting the annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day at the Statehouse – an event attended by hundreds of people. In 2012, then-Representative Fedor helped pass the Safe Harbor Act, a comprehensive, victim-centered human trafficking bill. This legislation was followed by the End Demand Act, which tackles market-driven demand for human trafficking by increasing penalties for purchasing sex from minors.
Tonight, Senator Fedor will discuss her new legislation and her work combating human trafficking on a panel hosted by the United Nations Association of Southern New York. The event will also feature a screening of “The Turn Out.” Directed by Pearl Gluck, “The Turn Out” stars sex trafficking survivors and truckers acting in a fictionalized account of their own experiences with sex trafficking.
“Senator Fedor has always been this legislator guardian angel of the film,” said Gluck. “She opened my eyes to what happens domestically with underage victims around the country and the relationship between human trafficking and the opioid crisis, poverty, educational opportunity and the generational cycle of violence. She changed the direction of the story in this film.”
“The Turn Out” has been on the festival circuit, winning Best Debut Feature at Toronto’s Female Eye Film Festival and a Critic’s Choice Award at the Iowa International Film Festival.
“I’ve always appreciated how the arts can educate and heal,” said Senator Fedor. “I’m excited by the opportunity to inspire activism on the issue of human trafficking in Ohio and around the country. I’m grateful to participate and thankful for the work of the United Nations Association.”