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The most likely victims of human trafficking in Ohio

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2023 | Sex Trafficking

Last month, we discussed the problem of people becoming victims of sex trafficking in Toledo and how victims can use the law to recover compensation for their physical injuries, mental trauma and other damages. In this post, we will focus on the victims themselves — who they are and how predators often find them.

Targeting the young and vulnerable

Almost anyone can potentially become victimized by human traffickers for sex crime purposes. But certain groups are particularly vulnerable, according to a report from Wright State University. In general, traffickers tend to target children, teenagers and women. Drilling down further, victims tend to be people with limited financial and/or social resources — for example, someone experiencing homelessness, struggling with drug addiction, dropping out of school or being rejected from their family because of their sexual identity. Young teens who are dating older men can also be vulnerable to this type of abuse. So are recent immigrants who don’t know anybody in Toledo, don’t speak the language and may be susceptible to manipulation.

At first, the trafficker can come across as a loving boyfriend or good friend promising a way out of the victim’s current circumstances. Later, as the nature of their “help” becomes clear, they use abusive tactics to prevent the victim from escaping. They will isolate the victim from their family and friends and control the victim’s movements. Often, they will also threaten physical harm or abuse their victims.

Justice after sex trafficking

Sex trafficking is a crime in Ohio. State law also empowers victims to sue their perpetrators for compensation. On top of that, other parties that indirectly contributed to the trauma, such as hotel owners and employees that allowed sex trafficking on the premises, can be held liable. So can parents who did not do enough to keep their child from danger, as can organizations like religious institutions, schools and youth sports leagues — any group that negligently put the trafficker in touch with the victim.