Measure would help sex trafficking victims
Rep. Joyce Beatty’s bill to make child sex trafficking easier to report and make it easier to dismiss prostitution charges against sex trafficking victims unanimously passed the House today.
The Jefferson Township Democrat introduced the bill last week as a way “to assist these children – these children who are victims – not criminals – and need our help.”
The bill would amend the Missing Children’s Assistance Reauthorization Act to increase support for law enforcement officers to find and help children who are kidnapped and forced into prostitution.
Beatty said she hopes that the bill will make it easier for people to report child sex trafficking. “We need to encourage all people – when they see something, say something,” Beatty said.
In 2011, the Office of Justice Programs reported that around 300,000 children were at risk to be sexually abused or exploited per year in the United States. In Ohio alone, there are approximately 1,078 children are sent into the sex trade.
Beatty said because of its many interstate highways and rivers, Ohio has become a popular for sex traffickers targeting children.
“These are children who fall through the cracks in our society,” Beatty said. “Many are runaways, homeless, and in and out of foster care. These children deserve better.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is sponsoring a Senate version of the legislation.