For the victims of sex trafficking in Ohio, the recruiters are usually women, and many buyers are men in positions of power and authority. The Columbus Dispatch says those are two key findings from a three–year study of human trafficking in five major Ohio cities. The report was based on a survey of 328 self-identified victims, including some who were adults and no longer involved in the industry. The study was issued by the attorney general's Human Trafficking Commission and conducted by Celia Williamson, a professor of social work and criminal justice at the University of Toledo.
“The idea was to be able to identify the early stages,” Williamson said. “It's much, much better to identify the high-risk youth and divert them before they get trafficked.” Potential warning signs mentioned in the report include prior abuse and a history of running away from home. In Columbus, one year before they entered human trafficking, nearly half of the victims had an older boyfriend, 46 percent were unsure of where they would eat or sleep, and 44 percent had trouble in school. And more than 60 percent of victims from Columbus said they were persuaded to enter the industry in part by another woman who sold herself. “Because of this report, we now have more insight into who is more likely to get trafficked and how to prevent it,” said Attorney General Mike DeWine.