Ohio’s largest trafficking net in history, including city council members 161

Columbus, Ohio – Firefighters, university professors, and city council members in the Cleveland area Sex sting operation He was described last week as the state’s largest person focused on human trafficking.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, county law enforcement officers, social welfare providers, former trafficking victims I met at the Ohio Statehouse on Monday Talk about the initiative.

The week’s sting, called “Ohio’s Known Operations,” was aimed at creating a deterrent for those seeking sex for paid or commercial purposes, Yost said.

“We want to send a message to everyone in the country: don’t buy sex in Ohio,” he said.

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“I know Operation Ohio”

Law enforcement agencies have spread throughout the state and have communicated with hundreds of men seeking sex. Rick Minard, deputy secretary of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said police officers contacted up to eight “Johns” each time they were arrested, saying their actions did not meet the criminal element.

Three of the perpetrators were willing to pay to have sex with suspected minors. Ten minors reported missing were recovered during a simultaneous operation by US Marshals Service.

Fifty-one potential victims received support from advocates of community service. It was unknown how many women were indicted.

Most of the arrested people were charged with prostitution, a first-class misdemeanor. Other charges related to drugs and firearms.

Due to changes in state law passed in the spring, convicted individuals will be required to receive trafficking education.

“We can’t stop the way out of trafficking,” said Yost, who said arrests were still important as a deterrent. “Without buyers, there is no trafficking.”

He wants people to know that it’s not a victimless crime.

“When you are a buyer, you have no idea who you are dealing with,” he said. “The prostitutes who are prostitutes don’t show up, they’re sitting in the corner and watching over you. The survivors don’t tell you. They’re beaten.” Or “He’s going to withhold my medicine.”

“Because we don’t know, we assume the risk that everyone in Ohio who buys sex is involved in trafficking.”

Trafficking survivor Mandy Knight spoke through Zoom about her previous lifestyle and gratitude for being arrested.

“If I hadn’t been arrested, I wouldn’t have gone to jail, and if I hadn’t been affected by the decisions I made, I wouldn’t be here today, and I’ve been so successful in my life. It wouldn’t have been, “said Knight. Forensic criminology wife, mother, student.

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Arrested city council member: “Big mistake”

Mark Jesse, a councilor running for reelection on November 2, was stabbed in Elyria, Ohio, about 30 miles from Cleveland.

“I take this very seriously and realize that it’s a big mistake,” he told Columbus Dispatch, which is part of the USA TODAY network, on Monday. Jesse said he asked for sex from someone he thought he was selling on the website.

When the police arrested him, he said, “I had a desire to spit it out immediately and an immediate feeling that I was faced with the consequences of my family and friends.”

Summit County Sheriff Candy Fatherly warned colleagues not to rely solely on sting operations.

“This is the beginning, not the end. I think there’s a lot to do across the state,” she said.

Follow reporter Dean Narciso on Twitter. @deannarciso

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This article was originally published in Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Trafficking Bust “Operations Ohio Knows” Net 161 Arrests