October 28, 2020

USA: 179 Arrested In Ohio Anti-Human Trafficking Sting 'Operation Autumn Hope' That Involved More Than 50 Agencies. 109 Victims Rescued That Included 45 Missing Children.

KDSK5 NBC News, Ohio local
written by 10TV Web Staff, and Lacey Crisp
Sunday October 25, 2020

Forty-five missing children were recovered in Ohio by the U.S. Marshals (USMS) as part of an October operation called “Autumn Hope.”

The Ohio Attorney General's Office said 157 men were arrested on charges of soliciting and other crimes in Franklin, Cuyahoga and Lucas Counties.

Yost said the operation focused on four main points:
  • Rescuing victims of human trafficking and referring them to social services
  • Recovering missing and exploited children
  • Apprehending those seeking to have sex with a minor
  • Arresting male johns seeking to buy sex
Ohio Attorney General David Yost and other law enforcement agencies addressed the operation at a press conference on Monday:

10TV cameras were invited to go out with Columbus police during the operation.

In a three-day sting, Columbus police focused on the west side, Linden, Sullivant and Parsons Avenues looking for victims of human trafficking. Undercover officers worked with uniformed officers who would make the arrests.

While this is the second year for this type of round-up, it is the first for Columbus Police's PACT, or Police and Community Together, unit.

Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight the focus is on getting the women help and get them off the streets.

“Our goal is to make survivors of each and every one of them,” Knight said.

Groups like RREACT and forensic nurses were on-hand as the women were arrested. They were given a meal and any medical treatment they needed. They were also offered help with any addictions.

Ruth Downing is a forensic nurse and says these women won't go to a hospital to get the medical care they need.

“Victims of violence have for many years not received the care they need," Downing said.

During the operation, Columbus police made 80 arrests and recovered several guns. Of those arrests, 50 were from the PACT unit including 40 women and 10 men.

The Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force arrested 22 people accused of seeking to have sex with a minor.

Of those 22, eight were apprehended by the Franklin County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

About 20 additional missing children cases were also cleared.
The Hill
written by Celine Castronuovo
Tuesday October 27, 2020

The Ohio Attorney General’s office on Monday announced the completion of a campaign against human trafficking, called “Operation Autumn Hope,” that resulted in 179 arrests and 109 victims rescued.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) said in a press release that the operation, coordinated by the attorney general’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, included more than 50 law enforcement agencies and other organizations as part of a mission to end sex trafficking across the state.

According to the news release, the jointly led operation had four primary goals: rescuing human trafficking victims, recovering missing and exploited children, apprehending those looking to have sex with a minor and arresting those looking to buy sex with a minor.

The 109 victims rescued by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, Columbus PACT Unit and the Cuyahoga County Human Trafficking Task Force were referred to social services, according to the press release.

“The success of Operation Autumn Hope is measured not only in the number of arrests but in the lives that were rescued from this evil,” Yost said in the release. “Every agency on this team looks for the day when no person is bought and sold in Ohio.”

“Don’t buy sex in Ohio!” the attorney general added.

As a result of the operation, 76 missing and exploited children cases were cleared, including a 14-year-old girl who was reported missing by the Lancaster Police Department and was found in Columbus within six hours, according to Yost’s office.

“These vulnerable members of our population usually slip through the cracks,” Sgt. Dana Hess, director of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, said in the release. “This operation highlighted the vast number of potential victims and allowed law enforcement the opportunity to make contact and link them to services.”

In August, the Ohio “Operation Safety Net” led to the rescue of 25 children aged 13 to 18 in just three weeks after its launch, according to the U.S. Marshals Office.

That same month, “Operation Not Forgotten” in Georgia recovered 39 children aged 3 to 17, with nine people arrested at the time.

In Indiana, eight missing children were rescued during "Operation Homecoming" in September.

According to data collected by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, child sex trafficking has been reported in all 50 states, and out of the 23,500 cases of endangered young people reported to the organization in 2019, one in every six were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

The center reported that in 2019, it had provided assistance to law enforcement and families in connection to more than 29,000 missing children cases.

No comments: