27 arrested in First Four human trafficking, prostitution sting

27 arrested in human trafficking sting (WDTN Photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – During the week of the First Four law enforcement arrested 27 would-be sex buyers and traffickers in Dayton.

The First Four brings in thousands of people from across the country, which means business for traffickers. Most of the advertisements for commercial sex are all done online.

“Advertisements (in the Dayton area) increase by a third. We also notice people who advertise sex in Columbus, Cincinnati and the Toledo area migrate into the city,” said an undercover Dayton detective.

2 NEWS reporter Maytal Levi conducted a quick search of sex ads on websites like Craigslist.com and Backpage.com on Thursday. She found sex ads in cities like Miamisburg, Centerville and Dayton.

“It’s everywhere because of the online environment. There’s no boundaries or limitations. I hate to say this, but it’s just as easy as ordering pizza to order a person,” said the detective.

The University of Dayton Anti-Human Trafficking Director, Tony Talbott says the crime runs like a business and during events like the First Four, business can boom.

“A lot of people come days before the big game and make a vacation out of it. So, that’s the increased demand, the supply will meet it,” said Talbott.

It’s a quick transaction being done across the Miami Valley at homes, hotels, and motels.

“Centerville, Miamisburg, Clark County, Huber Heights, Englewood, Butler Township.  You name the jurisdiction, we’ve conducted operations in that area,” said the detective.

Levi asked Talbott, “Who are these people coming to Dayton looking for sex during the First Four?”. He responded, “They can be young, old, dads, grandpas, single, married, rich or poor. Whatever.”

The Dayton Police Department says some that were arrested this week traveled from Illinois, Virginia, and Michigan.

“We arrested two, 18 and 19-year-old girls from Detroit this time. We’re giving them a fighting chance they would not have had,” said the detective.

Some of the women arrested are victims of a sex crime. The detective says they’re offered services to get out of “the life”, but some deny the help.

As for easy access to the problem, Talbott says our highways make human trafficking easier than it already is.

“Ohio is geographically, beautifully located for this. We’re a days drive from every major metro-area in the eastern half of the U.S.”

To stop human trafficking, Talbott and the detective say it can’t be done alone and if you see something, say something.

“Human trafficking is a problem. Even when the First Four isn’t occurring. human trafficking is always here. It’s a dirty little secret everyone closes the door on.”

2 NEWS is not releasing the name of the 27 arrested because some of them might be victims.

For warning signs of human trafficking, click here. To report it call 1-888-373-7888.

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