Safe Harbor Act to Protect Victims, Target Traffickers and Customers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHONE: (614) 547-0099 ext. 309
(TOLEDO, OHIO) - Today, Governor John Kasich signed into law House Bill 262, the Safe Harbor Act. This law implements a victim-centered approach to human trafficking in Ohio by protecting minor victims from prosecution and diverting them to treatment, and allowing seized assets of convicted traffickers to create a fund to help the victims. The Safe Harbor Act will increase penalties for trafficking to a first degree felony with a mandatory prison term of up to fifteen years, and poses customers with a possible felony charge for knowingly paying for sex with a minor.
"By signing the Safe Harbor Act, Governor Kasich is defending the inherent dignity of human life," said Mike Gonidakis, President of Ohio Right to Life. "Like the abortion industry, the human-trafficker profits from victimizing the vulnerable. The two thrive because of society's general lack of respect for the dignity of human life. Today, Governor Kasich and the Safe Harbor Act play a vital role in promoting the culture in Ohio as one that will respect every human life."
Also announced today in cooperation with the bill-signing, Governor Kasich's Human Trafficking Task Force will initiate a move to train individuals like investigators, law enforcement officials, school nurses and foster parents to better recognize and assist victims of trafficking.
Currently, about 3,000 domestic Ohio youth are at-risk for sex-trafficking because of their status as runaways or homeless. Annually, another 1,000 are trafficked into the sex trade in Ohio. Toledo is currently the fourth-worst city for trafficking in the U.S.
Ohio Right to Life is grateful for Governor Kasich's leadership in defending life here in Ohio by combating human trafficking.