Ohio attorney general: Anti-human trafficking operation nets 179 arrests

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost LISA POWELL / STAFF
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

Ohio’s attorney general said Monday that a statewide human trafficking crackdown last week netted more than 170 arrests and also helped locate children who were missing.

Attorney General Dave Yost said his office joined federal, state and local law enforcement in Operation Autumn Hope.

"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 a statement. “Every agency on this team looks for the day when no person is bought and sold in Ohio. Don’t buy sex in Ohio!”

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The Attorney General’s Office said the goal of the operation was to rescue victims of human trafficking and refer them to social services, apprehend those seeking to have sex with a minor, arrest male johns seeking to buy sex, and recover missing and exploited children.

During the operation, 179 people were arrested from a variety of unrelated cases and 109 human trafficking victims were located and/or referred to social services, Yost’s office said.

Also, children who were considered missing were helped.

“Among those missing included a 15-year-old girl missing from Cleveland whose recovery linked her and other possible victims to an individual in Columbus suspected of human trafficking; a 15-year-old male with two warrants who is a suspect in multiple shootings and a homicide; and a 14-year-old girl who was reported missing by the Lancaster Police Department who was recovered in Columbus within six hours of being reported missing,” the Attorney General’s Office said.

Yost said the operation was one of, if not the, biggest of its kind in Ohio history.

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