As of last week, a total of 104 people have been arrested as a result of a 4-day statewide sting operation against human trafficking and child abuse in Ohio.
During the sting, a police officer would pose as an underage child online and contacted the suspects. Very much like the old television show “To Catch A Predator” where suspects are lured into a home expecting to meet an underage child but instead be confronted by Chris Hansen.
Fox News reported, The total group of 104 suspects included Christian Gibson, 26, a former youth director at Redeemer’s at Courtright Church in Columbus, and Austin Kosier, 31, an emergency room doctor, authorities said, adding that the sting was focused on Franklin, Fairfield and Delaware counties.
“They show up with sex toys, they show up with lubrication. They show up with things that clearly somebody isn’t going to show up to a house with unless they intended to engage in sexual activity,” said Maj. Steven Tucker of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
According to The BL,
The state of Ohio is particularly active in the sex trade and human trafficking. The main reasons are the proximity to Canada and the fact that interstate highways through Ohio connect with many rural urban communities.
The FBI ranks Toledo, Ohio, as the fourth city in the country with the most traffic of this kind.
Part of the offenders’ strategies include recruiting victims over the Internet; once contact is established, threats, heroin, and violence are used to force women and children into prostitution, according to a study by The Ohio Family Physician, published in 2015.
The same study revealed that in Ohio 1,078 teenagers were involved in the sex trade during 2015. Approximately 18% of the victims said they became involved in the sex trade before age 18 and 10% said they became involved before age 12.