What you can do to reduce sex trafficking - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

What you can do to reduce sex trafficking

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(Toledo News Now) -

The FBI estimates that 85 percent of commercial sex workers experience some degree of force, fraud or coercion. Toledo, in particular, has a problem with sex trafficking, but there are ways you can help fight it.

According to Supervisory Senior Resident Agent David Dustin of the FBI, Toledo is an origin city. Young boys and girls are often recruited and unknowingly groomed for prostitution, and then taken from Toledo to larger cities.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office had 30 human trafficking investigations in 2013, and made 16 related arrests. But officials often rely on tips from the public for these investigations.

A WikiHow article lists the steps you can take to reduce local sex trafficking:

1)    Check websites such as Craigslist or Backpage for personal and escort ads. If these include photos of what is clearly a child, flag the posts daily (some sites won't remove the post until it has received several flags).

2)    Take notes and keep track of ads you see often. The article says willing advertisers may take photos of themselves, while traffickers may pose the girls (or boys). You may even notice bruises on the unwilling.

3)    Never attempt to contact the people in the ads. Never attempt to bait or entrap them. Your job is to make their online advertising more difficult so the business suffers, not to police.

4)    Look for local sites, which may not have the resources needed to catch these trafficking ads. Notify the site by flagging the post or sending a message.

5)    Contact your local lawmakers to find out what the laws are around sex trafficking.

6)    Investigate Safe Harbor Laws to see if they affect your state. If not, write letters to lawmakers about it.

For more information on sex trafficking and prostitution in northwest Ohio, see our special report here.

Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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