OHIO – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today announced a successful human trafficking operation today.
Operation 614, Columbus area code, coordinated through AG Yost’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, encompassed more than 20 law enforcement agencies and nongovernmental partners to address issues that fuel sex trafficking in central Ohio.
“Operation 614 is the latest in a long series of efforts to push back against human trafficking in Ohio,” Yost said. “I am so proud of our law enforcement partners, who with their boots on the ground, made this operation a success. We all look forward to that day when no person is bought or sold for sex in Ohio.”
Operation 614 did three things according to a press release,
- Identifying victims of human trafficking and referring them to social services.
- Apprehending those seeking to have sex with a minor.
- Arresting male johns seeking to buy sex.
In total, 53 victims were identified and referred to services and 93 arrests were made.
For the first time in Ohio, those seeking to purchase sex were charged with engaging in prostitution, a misdemeanor of the first degree. This charge was created under House Bill 431, which became effective on Monday, April 12. Under the new law, an offender will be required to attend an education or treatment program aimed at preventing a person from inducing, enticing or procuring another to engage in sexual activity for hire.
“Human trafficking is a heinous crime and a morally reprehensible act that deprives a person of their liberty and dignity for another person’s gain,” said Sgt. Dana Hess, Director of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force. “The task force strives to establish a relationship of trust with all victims and is committed to eradicating all forms of human trafficking in Central Ohio.”
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) targeted and apprehended those seeking to engage in sexual activity with minors.
Grove City Division of Police – Chief Rick Butsko
“The Grove City Division of Police is committed to investigating and proactively addressing all criminal activity, especially crimes against persons. Human trafficking and prostitution affect a community as a whole, but specifically target potentially vulnerable victims. The intent of Grove City’s participation in this operation is to both enforce violations of the law in the short term and to send the long-term message that Grove City does not tolerate these types of crimes.”