Opportunity in Ohio
Victims of human trafficking are often compelled to participate in a variety of illegal activities, resulting in multiple records of arrests and convictions. Criminal records, particularly those related to prostitution, theft, and drugs, create serious barriers to employment, housing, education, family relationship, and other assets for healthy community integration. Learn more about overcoming these barriers in Ohio below or get OJPC’s overview here.
What is Sex Trafficking?
Sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking that exists throughout the United States and globally. It is illegal under U.S. federal law and under Ohio law. Victims are most often women and children.
Sex trafficking occurs when is someone is recruited, lured, enticed, isolated, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, or maintained, and is compelled to engage in sexual activity/performance for hire. A victim is “compelled” through force, fear, duress, intimidation, or fraud. Traffickers scare and pressure victims into doing illegal things like prostitution, theft, drug use, pornography, and more. Although it is often present, physical abuse is not legally-required for trafficking to occur.
Human traffickers create barriers for their victims. These barriers are multifarious and can include: drug and alcohol addiction, physical and emotional abuse, unstable/unsafe housing, limited access to services, and control through fear, manipulation, duress, intimidation, and force.
Often people are unaware of their status as victims of human trafficking. They often consider the traffickers as protectors, boyfriends/girlfriends, relatives, friends, or landlords. This makes it extremely hard for authorities to identify the traffickers as more often than not the victims will protect them out of a false sense of loyalty.
What needs to be done to help victims?
There needs to be a better relationship between people criminal justice system and the communities they serve. Law enforcement must understand how to identify victims, particularly since many victims are “coached” on what to say to police officers. Attorneys and courts must understand how criminal records will impact a trafficking survivor who is under arrest. The criminal justice system must develop strategies to ensure victim safety, stability, and recovery from addiction.
What can be done about the barriers?
There is a lot that can be done for victims of human trafficking in regards to legal barriers. This includes record sealing, Certificates of Qualification for Employment, and total expungement of criminal records. In Hamilton County, the CHANGE court docket speeds up the process of getting records truly expunged from ones history. For more information click here…