For Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, stopping human trafficking has become one of his major legislative concerns.

And that is why the senator is lending his support to promoting Northeast Ohio’s eighth annual Human Trafficking Awareness program, set for 2 pm Monday, Jan. 28.

The forum, organized annually by the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking, will be live-streamed by WKYC on our website and Facebook page.

Portman stopped by WKYC recently to tape a promotional video for the program. Public education forums like Monday’s event are a major weapon in the fight against trafficking, he said.

Portman said that human trafficking continues to happen, in part, because of the Internet and the ruthless efficiency of the smartphone. A law he authored, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, allows federal and state prosecutors to hold websites accountable that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking.

To end the crime of human trafficking, everyone needs to educate themselves on the warning signs so they can identify it and report it.

Monday’s forum, to be moderated by WKYC’s Monica Robins, will feature interviews with a trafficking survivor and also local experts. Portman has asked his staff to watch the webinar and is encouraging all Ohio residents to tune in as well.

“I’ll continue working in Washington to address this issue, but the solution won’t come from politicians. It will take all of us as an engaged community,” Portman said, thanking the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking for taking the lead in coordinating Northeast Ohio’s action plan.

There are nearly 50 partner members of the Collaborative, including businesses, law enforcement agencies and social service organizations. Portman’s office is a member.