CLEVELAND -- State Representative Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) believes human trafficking the greatest human rights issue of our lifetime.
"It is slavery; they can't walk away, they're being forced there's fraud, coercion a lot of violence and rape," said Rep. Fedor at a human trafficking forum hosted by the Cleveland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
"We've been trying to advocate for better laws, better policies, people working together in law enforcement," Rep. Fedor continued.
Statistics show more than half of human trafficking victims claim they were sexually abused as children and the average age for a child entering prostitution in Ohio is 13.
"A lot of our children are so vulnerable and it doesn't matter what zip code you live in it happens everywhere the internet, on the streets, hotels," she said.
It is an issue survivor turned advocate Marla Smith understands better than most.
"I'm a survivor…I was on those same streets you know so I know I understand," explained Smith, who now uses the trials she overcame in her early life as a testimony she shares with other young women.
"We go out just about every night from 1 to 4 am and kind of go on the streets and do street outreach to the girls and the women that's out there prostituting," said Smith.
"I mean that could be my daughter, it could be my little sister, it could be my little cousin, or my niece, so I'm just out there trying to help support."
Nationally over 100,000 children are believed to be involved in the sex trade according to the Ohio Attorney General's Office.