COLUMBUS—State Senator Stephanie Kunze
(R-Hilliard) today spoke to survivors and those on the front lines of fighting human trafficking during Ohio's 10th Human Trafficking Awareness Day at the Ohio Statehouse. The annual event brings together advocates from around the state to focus on efforts to end human trafficking.
"Although we have accomplished a great deal, we cannot let up on fighting human trafficking from all sides of the issue," said Kunze. "We will continue to make it a priority to toughen penalties on traffickers, provide support and resources to survivors and raise public awareness.”
The most common point at which young people fall victim to human trafficking is roughly age 13, with 1,000 children facing this harsh reality each year. Predators profit by targeting victims, from all walks of life, and exploiting them for labor or commercial sex.
The Ohio Senate has passed a series of bills over the last several years aimed at combatting the problem through better enforcement, increased support for survivors, and promoting greater public awareness to empower Ohioans to recognize crucial warning signs and report suspected cases.
“This modern-day slavery violates the most basic human rights of too many women, men and children around Ohio," said Senate PresidentLarry Obhof
(R-Medina). "That is why the Ohio Senate has made it one of our top priorities to fight these heinous crimes and support the survivors as they reclaim and rebuild their lives.”
As part of these efforts, Senator Kunze and Senator Matt Dolan
(R-Chagrin Falls) recently introduced Senate Bill 5
, intended to increase criminal penalties for individuals who are convicted of promoting prostitution in Ohio.
"Prostitution is directly linked to human trafficking, and stronger penalties are needed to help stop this cruel industry from trapping its victims in a vicious cycle of abuse and forced crime," Kunze added.
Senate Bill 5 is currently being considered in the Senate's Judiciary Committee.