Ohio will launch human trafficking awareness campaign

Continuing Ohio’s aggressive agenda to end human trafficking, Gov. John R. Kasich on Wednesday announced that the state will launch a new public awareness campaign to combat human trafficking by educating the public on how to recognize and report the crime, as well as help victims gain access to services and treatment.

The Kasich administration and the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force will work closely with The Impact Group, a public relations and marketing firm out of Hudson, to develop the multi-pronged outreach and education campaign, which is expected to launch by the end of 2013.

“We’ve made progress in the fight against human trafficking, but we have a long way to go before this war is won,” Kasich said in a news release. “Before an awful crime like this can be stopped, people need to know how to recognize and report signs of human trafficking to law enforcement.  Stopping criminals, helping victims and ultimately saving lives is what this campaign is all about.”

The human trafficking awareness campaign will focus on three key areas:

  • Educating the public on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking;
  • Promoting the appropriate method for reporting human trafficking situations;
  • Directing victims of human trafficking to available services and treatment, and helping them regain control of their lives.

“Many people have never heard of human trafficking, let alone that more than 1,000 Ohio children are estimated to be victims of this crime every year,” said Ohio Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Elizabeth Ranade Janis.  “Developing an effective public education campaign that will move the needle in identifying and responding to victims is our priority and we look forward to working with The Impact Group to make that happen.”

The Impact Group was selected following a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process managed by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, and will submit monthly reports detailing deliverables and work hours to the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Office of Criminal Justice Services.  Up to $49,500 will be made available for the campaign, with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and DPS each providing up to $24,750.

In March 2012, Gov. Kasich signed an executive order creating the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force. Human trafficking, which is the illegal trade of human beings for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises worldwide. Each year an estimated 1,078 Ohio children become victims of human trafficking and 3,016 more are at-risk for exploitation.

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