Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced the successful results of a weeklong statewide operation called "Operation Buyer's Remorse," which targeted individuals attempting to purchase sex and aimed to identify human trafficking survivors.
Led by the Southeastern Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and local law enforcement agencies, "Operation Buyer’s Remorse" was a coordinated effort to combat human trafficking by addressing the demand for illegal activities.
Yost emphasized the operation's broader impact, including resources for survivors and gathering intelligence for long-term investigations.
During the operation, which took place from Sept. 25 to Sept. 30, law enforcement teams conducted stings across the state, covering areas such as Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Akron, Youngstown, Marietta and Portsmouth. (Related: FBI finds 200 trafficking victims, 59 missing kids in two-week operation.)
The crackdown resulted in 160 arrests, with the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) and local agencies leading the effort. Additionally, search warrants were executed at 11 massage parlors suspected of human trafficking activities, contributing to ongoing investigations.
The arrested individuals came from diverse backgrounds, including professions like EMTs, nurses, educators, retirees, former law enforcement officers, self-employed individuals and delivery drivers. The age range of those arrested varied from 17 to 84 years old.
"It was a concerted effort to stem the demand that fuels human trafficking," a press release about the operation stated.
Over the week, 149 people looking to buy sex were nabbed and charged with engaging in prostitution, according to the release. Also arrested were two individuals seeking to engage in criminal sexual acts with minors; six individuals promoting prostitution; and three individuals illegally possessing drugs or firearms.
Law enforcement officers also conducted interviews with 104 survivors of human trafficking, connecting them with services provided by healthcare and social service organizations. The operation involved the collaboration of nearly 100 law enforcement agencies and service organizations, highlighting the collective effort in the fight against human trafficking.
"The success of the operation is measured not only by the number of arrests but also by the resources offered to survivors of human trafficking and the intelligence gathered that will propel long-term investigations forward," Yost said. "I am grateful for each and every partner who dedicated their time and resources, as we all play a key role in the fight against human trafficking."
His parting shot: "Our message is simple: Don't buy sex in Ohio."
Visit Trafficking.news for more stories about human trafficking.
Watch this video exposing child trafficking in the United States.
This video is from the The Kokoda Kid channel on Brighteon.com.
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