Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released a new report with the Human Trafficking Commission detailing the seedy world of sex trafficking in the Buckeye State.
University of Toledo professor Celia Williamson helped author the report, which was based on interviews with 328 self-identified human trafficking victims in Toledo, Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.
The report found the vast majority of teen girls were forced into prostitution after they were recruited by other women, many who acted like a friend when they first met the victim. Another startling fact: 63 percent reported they ran away from home at least once before they were trafficked.
"The number of victims who were runaways before their involvement with sex trafficking is very telling," DeWine said. "Right now our Missing Persons Unit at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation works with local law enforcement and families to locate runaways. We need to get to the root of the problem and make sure these kids don't slip through the cracks."
In the report, 115 of the victims said they were younger than 18 when they were forced to sell their bodies for sex. Also, 12 percent of the victims said they were sold before they were 12.
The report also includes seven recommendations on how to stop future victimization, which the commission will take into consideration in its future work to fight sex trafficking.