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What Are the Laws Regarding Human Trafficking in Ohio?

September 1, 2016 | Written by Dan Margolis

Human trafficking remains a major concern in Ohio and around the country. According to the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, you will find the legal federal definition of human trafficking in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. There are also additional laws covering human trafficking in Ohio. Within the definition of human trafficking there are two main categories: labor and services, and sex trafficking.

One main difference between the federal and state definitions is that under Ohio law, sex trafficking does not have to be tied only to a physical or overt threat made against the alleged victim. If you were to intimidate someone, or otherwise create a situation where the person felt afraid or under duress to perform the services, whether sexual or otherwise, then it would fall under the human trafficking laws.

Under the federal law, you cannot use fraud, coercion or force to get someone to perform any labor or service for you. This includes situations that might be considered slavery, debt bondage or involuntary servitude. This means that if you were to force an illegal immigrant to clean your house for free by threatening to call immigration on them, or if you were to kidnap someone and sell their services to others, you would be conducting human trafficking.

The Ohio laws break down the sex trafficking definition into three tiers. You do not have to prove any compelling was involved if a person has any developmental disabilities or if it involved a minor under the age of 16. A case involving a person in a position of authority who forces anyone between the ages of 16 and 17 would also not require any proof of the compulsion.

Both provisions define sex trafficking as a situation that involves buying or selling sex acts involving a person who was coerced or otherwise forced into the situation. For example, if you were to hire a prostitute who was providing his or her services under force from another person, then you could be charged with sex trafficking. This information is intended to educate only and should not be considered legal advice.

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