TOLEDO – Following passage of a critical anti-human trafficking bill, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to direct resources to northwest Ohio to help local law enforcement track down homeless youth and runaways – nearly one-third of whom are lured toward trafficking within weeks of leaving home.
“Runaway children and teens are vulnerable, easy targets for traffickers,” Brown said. “Although this community has built a strong coalition, we need to support and build on its work. That’s why I’m urging Attorney General Lynch to give law enforcement the resources to find these kids before they fall prey to traffickers. Modern-day slavery is a heinous crime, and we must marshal every available tool to ensure these crimes do not continue.”
After a group of retired law enforcement agents approached Brown’s office about the need for additional resources in the field, Brown introduced legislation – which was included in the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act signed by the President in May – that would create a grant program to provide additional resources to assist law enforcement in tracking down homeless and runaway youth who are at risk of being trafficked. In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch sent Monday, Brown urged her to make implementation of this program a priority.
During a press conference in Toledo Monday, Brown joined Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp, Retired FBI agent Bill Radcliffe, and a Toledo woman who was trapped into domestic sex trafficking after running away from home at age 14.