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State offering grant to count child victims of sex trafficking in Ohio

(January 27, 2017) — How many Ohio children are trafficked for sex?

The Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force wants to know, so the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services is offering applications for a $100,000 grant to fund research projects to estimate the number of children under 18 and victims aged 18 to 21.

A 2013 study from the University of Toledo found more than 1,000 children, with another 3,000 young people at risk.

Other sought-after statistics include race, age, gender of victims, type of trafficking, whether foreign, national or domestic and the vulnerability of special populations, such as runaways and homeless youth, lesbian, gay and transgender victims, victims with disabilities and immigrants/refugees/asylum seekers. Researchers also will be asked to explore the relationship with drugs both for the traffickers and victims.

In related news, The Ohio Children’s Trust Fund, in collaboration with the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, awarded $90,000 in grants to fund seven organizations that will develop and implement human trafficking prevention programs specifically targeted at at-risk youth populations.

The organizations serve 13 counties with human trafficking prevention services, outreach and advocacy. They are the Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services of Franklin County (awarded $13,209); the Henry County Health Department, serving Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams counties ($15,000); OneEighty, Inc. of Holmes and Wayne Counties ($15,000); the statewide Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution organization ($10,250); the Treetops Center for Children and Adolescents of Warren County ($12,820); UNCHAINED of Franklin County ($12,600); and the University of Dayton, serving Clark, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Preble counties ($15,000).

To report a trafficking tip, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.