COLUMBUS, Ohio — State officials have revealed details of a statewide human trafficking operation that resulted in the arrest of 161 people seeking to buy sex (including three who wanted sex from minors) along with the recovery of 10 missing children.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost offered details of the operation alongside multiple law enforcement agencies during a Monday press conference. He said those arrested include a city council member, a firefighter, a teacher, a professor, a home improvement contractor and a pilot.
"He [pilot] not only was purchasing sex, but he haggled and got the price down to $15," Yost said.
Yost added that human trafficking is happening all across Ohio.
"Poor neighborhoods. Rich neighborhoods. Educated. Uneducated. Black. White. It doesn’t matter. It happens everywhere," he said. "That’s why this fight is so important. I will not rest until no one in Ohio buys or sells human beings."
Mandie Knight, a survivor of the sex trade, also spoke at the briefing. She is now a wife and mother who is studying forensic criminology, and lauded the role law enforcement played in her recovery.
"When I was being trafficked, I knew that law enforcement was somewhere I could turn to when I needed a safe way out, and that’s what happened," Knight, now resource manager for Freedom a la Cart, said. "Had I not been arrested, had I not gone to jail, and had I not suffered some consequences for the decisions I was making, I wouldn't be here today and I wouldn’t be as successful in life."
The press conference also revealed that 50 people were arrested for offering to sell sex. We streamed the press conference live, which you can watch in the player below:
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Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in an unrelated article on Sept. 21, 2021.