FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – the group “Abolition Ohio” is touring colleges this week to train students on the dangers of human trafficking.
The University of Dayton group is spreading awareness about human trafficking with its STOP Traffick(ing) Tour. The free trainings and resources are made possible by the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund.
The group kicked off their tour at Wright State University with a free community training session to teach students how to identify and report human trafficking and who are the most vulnerable.
According to statistics cited by the group, in this past year, 1,078 young Ohioans have been trafficked into sex.
Abolition Ohio STOP Trafficking Training Coordinator Adie Lewis said it affects over 20 million people worldwide, “This is happening to the high school and middle school age students as well as college age students and adults, but the average age from someone first being sex trafficked is the age of 13.”
Lewis cited our interstates and a record number of truck stops and adult establishments in our state for why we’re seeing it more and more. However, it’s not just highways that drive up the numbers, she said major sporting events like The First Four can also bring in more human traffickers.
“We now know that when major sporting events happen traffickers bring in victims in order to supply clients who are coming in for those events,” Lewis said.
The Opioid crisis gripping our state has also contributed to the increase in human trafficking. Lewis said even parents can traffic their children for drug money.
“This can realistically happen to anyone. There’s no, if you have a picture in your head of what the trafficking victim may look like, there is no such thing anyone could be vulnerable if the factors lineup for someone to exploit them,” Lewis said.
The STOP Traffick(ing) Tour will run Tuesday through Thursday at three different locations.
- Tuesday, May 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Wright State University
- Wednesday, May 24 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the University of Dayton Science Center
- Thursday, May 25 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Eaton Church of Brethren
To learn more go to the Abolition Ohio Facebook page.