sex trafficking

Trafficked: Misinformation Mainstreamed

May 20, 2021

A warning, this story includes descriptions of sexual violence.

It’s not hard to find people on the internet who are really worried about trafficking. There are the hoaxes about zip ties on cars used to trap people in parking lots. Then there is the false conspiracy that Wayfair furniture listings are secretly ads for child trafficking victims. The QAnon movement and others have promoted conspiracy theories about a global child sex trafficking ring.

Central Ohio Sex Trafficking Sting Leads To 93 Arrests

Apr 18, 2021

A two-day human trafficking sting resulted in nearly 100 arrests around Central Ohio. Operation 614 comes on the heels of a new state law penalizing johns.

The Ohio Attorney General's office and law enforcement agencies carried out Operation 614 in Columbus and its surrounding suburbs on Wednesday and Thursday. Officers found 53 people coerced into sex trafficking and referred them to social services.

Law enforcement arrested 93 johns seeking to purchase sex. Those arrested included a registered sex offender on parole and those seeking sex with juveniles.


Judge Heather Stein Russell gets to see women transform from the first day they enter her courtroom to the day they graduate. Russell oversees a program called CHANGE Court, which began in 2014. CHANGE stands for Changing Habits And Setting New Goals is Empowering.

sex trafficking
Patrick Semansky / AP

Eleven-hundred police, prosecutors, community activists and survivors are in Cincinnati for a sold-out conference Oct. 15-17 on juvenile sex trafficking. The eighth-annual Juvenile Sex Trafficking Conference (JuST) is at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

A diversion program for victims of human trafficking is spreading to cities around the country. The model has roots in Columbus, Ohio, where a judge decided to direct women toward rehabilitation instead of jail.

Ten years ago, Judge Paul Herbert was sitting in a courtroom when he noticed a trend. He was seeing lots of women who were abused and forced into sex work, but they were being treated like criminals.

  Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said he will back legislation that requires commercial truck drivers to undergo training to help spot and report sex trafficking.

change court
Flickr Creative Commons

Over the last several years there has been a shift in how law enforcement and social service agencies view those involved in prostitution – a shift from considering sex trafficked individuals as criminals to instead seeing them as victims in need of help.

New Push To Stop Online Child Trafficking

Sep 13, 2017

Suspected child sex trafficking has increased 846 percent from 2010 to 2015 according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This explosive number is mostly attributed to the internet. Ohio Senator Rob Portman thinks the Communications Decency Act of 1996 may be to blame.

pixabay, available for use

Many think of child sex trafficking as a problem in some foreign countries, but it also exists here. Ohio is ranked among the worst for child sex trafficking in the United States, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer and a report from the Ohio Attorney General’'s office.

flickr, available for use

Last April, 42 people were arrested in a three-week blitz against prostitution along the McMicken Avenue corridor. Sex trafficking continues to be a problem in the city, with the West McMicken, Price Hill and Walnut Hills areas experiencing the most prostitution activity. 


When it comes to reducing prostitution in the any area, it’'s important to go beyond legislation and law enforcement; programs such as Cincinnati Union Bethel’'s “Off the Streets,” that reach out directly to sex workers, can make a dramatic difference. “Off the Streets” offers education, housing, drug treatment and mental health services to women involved in prostitution to help them escape that life.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati is halfway through a 90-day program of barricading parts of West McMicken Street in the city to reduce prostitution and human trafficking activities.  

District One Police Captain Michael John said there has been a disruption in the cruising related to the offenses.


Off the Streets

May 8, 2014


Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati Council could vote Wednesday on two motions to crackdown on prostitution.  Both measures would focus more attention on the "johns" instead of the women involved.

Residents are giving mixed reactions to temporary barricades on McMicken Street that were setup to stop people from cruising for prostitutes.  Tony Walsh with the West McMicken Improvement Association said things have gotten better.  He called the barricades a drastic measure.