More than 1,000 minors were victims of sex trafficking in Ohio between 2016 and 2017, according to a study published by the University of Cincinnati.
To determine the scope of human trafficking victimization, Valarie Anderson, Teresa Kulig, and Christopher Sullivan—all from the University of Cincinnati—gathered data from government reports, state-level agencies, justice system records and aggregate reports of vulnerable populations.
Not only did the researchers find more than 86 percent of human trafficking victims were involved in sex trafficking and that more than 1,000 juveniles were victims of sex tracking, but they also determined that an additional 4,209 individuals were considered to be at risk of trafficking victimization during the same period.
The researchers noted that minors who victims of sexual abuse, ran away from home four or more times in the prior year, experienced homelessness, used drugs and had multiple sex partners were more at risk of human trafficking among minors.
Still, the researchers conclude there are even more human trafficking victims than indicated in the report.
“Based on our assessment of the available information on human trafficking in Ohio that can be used for research purposes, these estimates are likely very conservative relative to the true number of victims,” the authors write.
“This was mainly due to the knowledge of omitted data sources and the knowledge of those included developed in the data gathering, cleaning, and analysis process.”
Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.
A 2018 study found that cheap motels, highways and poverty helps facilitate sex trafficking.
To control human trafficking, the researchers of the latest study recommend the creation of a uniform reporting system for Ohio including “core items” to measure related to human trafficking victimization; and implementing a series of methods in reporting system to protect individual identities, link across agencies, and share data for research purposes.
A full copy of the latest report can be downloaded here.