YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A recent report indicated that that 88 percent of human trafficking in Ohio involves sex and slavery.
The shocking statistic provided by the grass roots organization, the North East Ohio Coalition on Rescue and Restore, also said that human trafficking is taking place right here in the Valley.
On Saturday, community members learned more about the issue at a 24-hour vigil held at the Dorothy Day House in Youngstown.
“It’s actually in every zip code and we just don’t see it,” said Sister Anne Victory of the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking.
In Warren and Braceville, spas have been raided and shut down. Just last month, a Cuyahoga Falls man was arrested for allegedly asking someone online to arrange a marriage between him and their daughter.
“There’s an organization called truckers against trafficking and they watch the rest areas, and they watch each other. And we know from arrest records that 46 and 80 is a spot where they are transferring victims,” said Dorothy Day House volunteer Vicki Vicars.
They believe education about human trafficking is key. There are signs a person is his being held against his or her will.
“They can’t look you eye to eye. They’re very frightened. They will not interact easily unless they are being coached,” explained Victory.
Isabel Seavey is the co-director for the North East Ohio Coalition on Rescue and Restore. The organization is pressuring law makers about the issue.
“When people are arrested and charged, it’s not called human trafficking. It’s called compelling prostitution or promoting prostitution,” said Seavey.
The organization stressed that if anyone suspects human trafficking not to ignore it.
“If you see something, say something. Report it somewhere,” finished Victory.
Dorothy Day House’s 2- hour vigil runs until midnight.