AG Yost Announces Results of Statewide Anti-Human Trafficking Sting
Operation ‘Ohio Knows’ Nets 161 Seeking to Buy Sex
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today announced that 161 people were arrested and 51 potential human trafficking victims were helped in a statewide operation for which nearly 100 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies partnered with non-governmental and nonprofit organizations. The Meigs County Prosecutor’s Office and Meigs County Sheriff’s Office were among the participating organizations in the sting.
Operation Ohio Knows, coordinated through AG Yost’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC), was a collaborative effort that took place from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1 to address issues that fuel sex trafficking in Ohio.
“People who traffic other humans are doing it for a really simple reason — money. And if there’s no demand then there will be no market,” Yost said Monday morning during a press conference at the Statehouse, where he was joined by leaders of law enforcement agencies and social service organizations. “Reducing the demand means we reduce the number of people who are victimized by human trafficking.
“We will not rest until no one in Ohio buys or sells human beings.”
The operation included the arrest of 161 individuals seeking to buy sex – three of who sought to buy sex from minors. During the course of the operation, law enforcement officers also arrested individuals who possessed drugs and/or firearms. Most were charged with engaging in prostitution, a first-degree misdemeanor. A change in state law passed in the spring requires those convicted to undergo human trafficking education, a provision promoted by Attorney General Yost to decrease the demand for prostitution.
Among those arrested were a teacher, a professor, a firefighter, a pilot, municipal employees and a city councilman.
Fifty individuals offering to sell sex – men and women – were arrested. Law enforcement officers interviewed 51 potential human trafficking victims, who were provided services from health care and social services organizations.
A simultaneous operation carried out by the U.S. Marshals Service recovered 10 missing children.
Also participating in the press conference with the attorney general was Mandie Knight, a human trafficking survivor, who spoke about the role law enforcement played on her road to recovery.
“When I was being trafficked, I knew that law enforcement was somewhere I could turn to when I needed a safe way out, and that’s what happened,” said Knight, now resource manager for Freedom a la Cart and a wife, mother and student in forensic criminology. “Had I not been arrested, had I not gone to jail, and had I not suffered some consequences for the decisions I was making, I wouldn’t be here today and I wouldn’t be as successful in life.”
Operation Ohio Knows is the latest anti-human trafficking operation under Attorney General Yost, whose office hosts an annual human trafficking summit and provides coordination, education and outreach on the subject.
“The most important work the FBI does is protecting the most vulnerable in our society. Our goal through these efforts is to work with our partners across Ohio to help recover victims and arrest those responsible for their exploitation,” FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge J. William Rivers.
|Akron General Medical Center SANE Unit||Meigs County Sheriff’s Office|
|Akron Municipal RISE Court||Miami Twp. Police Department (Montgomery)|
|Akron Police Department||Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office|
|Akron Prosecutor’s Office||Miami Valley Human Trafficking Task Force|
|Athens City Police Department||Monroe County Sheriff’s Office|
|Athens County Prosecutor’s Office||Montgomery County RANGE Task Force|
|Athens County Sheriff’s Office||Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office|
|Battered Women’s Shelter||Morgan County Prosecutor’s Office|
|Butler Township Police Department||Morgan County Sheriff’s Office|
|Canopy Child Advocacy Center||New Albany Police Department|
|Case Western Reserve Law Clinic||Noble County Prosecutor’s Office|
|Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force||Noble County Sheriff’s Office|
|Circleville Police Department||Ohio Adult Parole Authority|
|Cleveland Division of Police||Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation|
|Cleveland Rape Crisis Center||Ohio State Highway Patrol|
|Columbus City Attorney’s Office||Ohio Investigative Unit|
|Columbus Division of Police||Ohio State University Police Department|
|Cuyahoga Co. Dept. of Child & Family Services||Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office|
|Cuyahoga County Regional Human Trafficking Task Force||Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office|
|Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department||Portage County Prosecutor’s Office|
|Defiance County Sheriff’s Office||Portage County Sheriff’s Office|
|Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office||Powell Police Department|
|Delaware County Sheriff’s Office||Rahab Ministries|
|Dublin Police Department||Rape Crisis Center|
|Elyria Police Department||Renee Jones Empowerment Center|
|EVE Inc.||Rescue and Restore|
|Federal Bureau of Investigation||Reynoldsburg Division of Police|
|FBI Human Trafficking & Child Exploitation Task Force||Salvation Army|
|Franklin County CATCH Court||Southeast Healthcare|
|Franklin County Juvenile Division Empowerment Court||Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force|
|Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office||Springfield Twp. Police Department (Summit)|
|Franklin County Sheriff’s Office||Stark County Prosecutor’s Office|
|Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Hope Task Force||Stark County Sheriff’s Office|
|Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force||Stow Police Department|
|Gahanna Division of Police||Summa Detox|
|Grandview Heights Division of Police||Summit County Adult Parole Authority|
|Grove City Division of Police||Summit County Human Trafficking Task Force|
|Harriet Tubman Movement||Summit County Prosecutor’s Office|
|Hilliard Division of Police||Summit County Sheriff’s Office|
|Homeland Security Investigations||Summit Detox|
|Lake County Prosecutor’s Office||Toledo Police Department|
|Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office||United States Marshal Service|
|Mariette Police Department||Upper Arlington Division of Police|
|Marietta College Police Department||Washington County Prosecutor’s Office|
|Marysville Division of Police||Washington County Sheriff’s Office|
|Medina County Prosecutor’s Office||Westerville Police Department|
|Medina County Sheriff’s Office||Wickliffe Police Department|
|Meigs County Prosecutor’s Office|