Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to announce the success of a statewide anti-human trafficking operation called Operation Autumn Hope.
Operation Autumn Hope, coordinated through AG Yost’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, encompassed more than 50 law enforcement agencies and non-government partners to break the cycle that fuels sex trafficking across the state. The broad-based effort, carried out in various parts of the state simultaneously, identified four priorities:
- Rescuing victims of human trafficking and referring them to social services
- Recovering missing and exploited children
- Apprehending those seeking to have sex with a minor
- Arresting male johns seeking to buy sex
“The success of Operation Autumn Hope is measured not only in the number of arrests but in the lives that were rescued from this evil,” Yost said. “Every agency on this team looks for the day when no person is bought and sold in Ohio. Don’t buy sex in Ohio!”
During the operation, the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Trask Force, Columbus PACT Unit, and the Cuyahoga County Human Trafficking Task Force rescued 109 human trafficking victims and referred them to social services.
Across southern Ohio, 76 missing and exploited children cases were cleared, including 45 by physical recovery by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
“Let this operation be a warning for those who sell human beings, you are not welcome in Ohio. For those who buy sexual services, the next door you knock on maybe an officer waiting to place you in handcuffs. For those of you who are being trafficked, reach out for help by contacting 911 in an emergency or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1(888)373-7888.”- Chief Deputy Bryan Smith, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department
“As a community, combating human trafficking requires a coordinated, collaborative approach between law enforcement and victim services. We appreciate the great work of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force to obtain justice for survivors.” -Michelle Hannan, Anti-Human Trafficking Program Director for the Salvation Army in Central Ohio