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Human Trafficking Prevention

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. Human traffickers exploit people for labor, services, or commercial sex.

It is key for Ohioans with developmental disabilities and the people who support them to recognize the signs of human trafficking, because people with disabilities are especially vulnerable to this crime.

If you believe you or someone you know is being trafficked,

  • call the police, if they are in immediate danger,

  • and call the county board of developmental disabilities.

Risk Factors

Certain factors make people more vulnerable to human trafficking, including if the person has had

  • prior abuse in the home, including sex abuse,

  • involvement with county children services,

  • one or both parents abusing drugs at home,

  • history of running away from home,

  • involvement in illegal activities, such as drug use,

  • or a mental disability.

Other broader concepts can make someone vulnerable, such as

  • social powerlessness,

  • communication skill deficits,

  • diminished ability to protect oneself because of lack of instruction or resources,

  • or an inability to detect who is safe to be around.

Reporting Suspected Human Trafficking

If you suspect someone with disabilities is being trafficked,

  • call the police, if they are in immediate danger,

  • and call the county board of developmental disabilities.

You do not need proof to file a report. All states have laws requiring professionals, such as case manager, direct service providers, police officers, and teachers to report abuse.

Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force

In an effort to combat this crime in Ohio, 11 state agencies, including DODD, are members of a statewide task force that has identified service and training gaps about human trafficking prevention information and offers recommendations to close those gaps.

The Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force organizes state agency resources in an effort to identify and rescue victims of human trafficking, create a coordinated law enforcement system to investigate and prosecute human trafficking crimes, and provide services and treatment necessary for victims to regain control of their lives.

Human Trafficking Awareness

DODD's Scott Phillips and Olivia Caldeira with the Center for Disability Empowerment explain what it means to be trafficked for labor or sex.


Adult Advocacy Center Guidebook for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking in People with IDD Webinar: 

Patricia Stephens from the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Steve Mentrek from Bittersweet Farms Inc. lead this one-hour webinar on the risk factors of people with developmental disabilities in human trafficking. This webinar is sponsored by the Governor’s Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Viewers will need to register to see the recording.

Needs Assessment: Human Trafficking and People with Disabilities


Confronting Racial Bias Against Black and African American Victims in the Prosecution of Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Human Trafficking

The history of slavery and racial discrimination in America has created structural barriers and inequalities that Black women continue to face as victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking, and human trafficking. The article offers examples of how racial bias has shaped the criminal justice response to these crimes and provides prosecutors with tangible tools for eradicating biases against Black victims.  Continue reading here.

Forced Criminality: Understanding Human Trafficking Through the Lens of the Victor Rax Case 

Even though human trafficking awareness has risen across the United States and the globe, there are still blind spots that prevent law enforcement from recognizing the exploitation of the most vulnerable people in their communities. The reality of human trafficking is that it most commonly involves an offender who positions themselves as trustworthy and then identifies, recruits, and exploits vulnerable individuals to turn a profit. These tactics also enable offenders to escape accountability. As Utah’s case against the prolific trafficker Victor Rax illustrates, when law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim service professionals collaborate, human trafficking in all its forms can be identified, offenders can be arrested and charged, and victims can be supported to start rebuilding their lives.  Continue reading here.