American News Oct 5, 2021 9:05 PM EST

Ohio human trafficking sting ends with record-breaking 161 arrests

"We want to send a message to everybody in the country: Don't buy sex in Ohio," said Attorney General Dave Yost.

Ohio human trafficking sting ends with record-breaking 161 arrests
Nick Monroe Cleveland, Ohio

Ohio arrested 161 people last week in a widespread sting operation meant to crackdown on human trafficking and prostitution. According to The Columbus Dispatch, this was one of the biggest human trafficking stings in the state's history.

The week-long affair called "Operation Ohio Knows" had law enforcement chat up men looking for sex — wrangling three people who thought they were meeting up with underaged minors. Fifty-one women total were rescued and given immediate access to social service resources.

An Ohio councilman, Mark Jessie, was caught soliciting sexual acts. Up for re-election this November in Elyria, Ohio, he told the publication that "I'm taking this very seriously and realize it's an enormous mistake."

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost commented on the operation. "We cannot arrest our way out of human trafficking. If there are no buyers, there will be no trafficking." The paper ran a story days ago about a missing black Columbus transwoman named Sacoya, hoping that the attention given to the Gabby Petito case could garner interest.

Unfortunately, the state of Ohio's track record for human trafficking tends to be at the top of the charts. In 2019 the state ranked 14th out of all 50 for active criminal human trafficking cases ongoing in the federal courtroom. It said that Columbus and the Southern District of Ohio "charged the second-highest number of federal human trafficking defendants in the nation in 2020."

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