COLUMBUS — Troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) joined neighboring states to raise awareness about human trafficking for the entire month of February. OSHP, the Indiana State Police and the Michigan State Police take the crime of human trafficking seriously and will continue to educate the public and enforce laws that crack down on traffickers.
The goal of the month-long Tri-State Human Trafficking Initiative was to train and educate those in a position to see human trafficking taking place, such as motor vehicle drivers, public transportation companies, rest area attendants and truck stop employees. These individuals can act as the eyes and ears of Ohio’s highways, and by teaching them the signs of human trafficking and how to report it, they are yet another resource to protect humans from trafficking and exploitation.
Over the month of February, the three states distributed more than 17,000 materials like wallet cards and brochures. They conducted 180 educational events that reached 2,446 people.
“It’s terrifying to think that human trafficking happens so close to us, but it does,” said S/Lt. Bill Menendez of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “Education is a huge component in this effort. We’re thankful for our partnerships with other states and organizations that continue to spread information and hopefully save lives.”
To report a trafficking tip, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline Resource Center at 888-373-7888 or text BeFree to 233733. The toll free number is available anywhere in the US, 24/7. The hotline received calls from Ohio regarding 303 potential human trafficking cases from 2013-2014, making Ohio the sixth highest total for potential cases reported among the states.