Legislation passed the Ohio House increasing the severity of Human Trafficking penalties and increases help for victims.
Human Trafficking Bill, Am. Sub. H.B. 262, sponsored by Representative Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), escalates the penalty for human trafficking conviction to a minimum of ten years in prison. Penalties for obstruction of justice in trafficking cases will also increase so victims are not subject to further abuse, threats or harassment.
H.B. 262 shields juvenile human-trafficking victims from prostitution charges and creates procedures for record expunged if they are found to have prostituted themselves as a result of being a victim of Human Trafficking.
"I cannot stress enough the impact this bill will have in the lives of children all over Ohio," Rep. Fedor said. "The goal of this legislation is protection, prevention and prosecution, and we have finally reached that goal."
This legislation will also establish a Victims of Human Trafficking Fund with money seized from convicted offenders under forfeiture law to help fund services for victims of Human Trafficking.
Am. Sub. HB 262 is now headed to Governor Kasich, who has been helpful in pushing the bill through the legislature, to be signed into law.
??This bill sends a very loud and clear message to human traffickers.?? Governor Kasich said. ??If you??re going to take advantage of Ohio??s boys and girls, you??re going to get caught and severely punished.??
If you??re a victim of human trafficking, or want to report an instance of human trafficking, please call the confidential hotline at 888-3737-888.