FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Mike Gonidakis
DATE: Thursday, December 23, 2010 PHONE:(614) 547-0099ext.301
(COLUMBUS, OHIO) - Governor Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 235 into law today. The new law, which was sponsored by State Senator Teresa Fedor (D - Toledo) and Sen. Tim Grendell (R - Chesterland), makes human trafficking a stand-alone felony offense, and makes compelling a minor under the age of 16 to prostitution a first-degree felony. Kidnapping for the purpose of involuntarily servitude is now a first-degree felony offense as well.
S.B. 235 passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 32-0 on December 1, 2010 and passed the Ohio House 96-0 this past week. Ohio now joins 44 other states with felony trafficking offenses.
Human trafficking is an issue that has come to national attention in recent years with high-profile cases discovered in Ohio. Currently, Toledo ranks 4th in the nation for active investigations, arrests, and rescues of children who are forced into prostitution. In addition to creating a human trafficking offense, the law also creates an offense for falsifying or destroying government identification documents for the purpose of trafficking or involuntary servitude.
"This is a substantial step in the right direction to fight human trafficking and protect vulnerable women and children in Ohio," said Mike Gonidakis, Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life. "By effectively punishing traffickers, this law will affirm the humanity of victims and deter others from engaging in this kind of appalling activity," Gonidakis said.
Ohio right to Life recently adopted a policy position statement regarding human trafficking. To learn more about human trafficking, visit our information page by clicking HERE.