YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio State Patrol is teaming up with a truck drivers association to fight human trafficking.
In 2015, the state patrol made more than 100 arrests for human trafficking on Ohio roadways.
Now, they’re taking their message to the highways to help more victims escape.
The Ohio State Patrol has launched a new program with the Truckers Against Trafficking organization.
Over the next month, special messages and posters will appear in Ohio rest stations and truck stops. Police are handing out fliers and meeting with drivers all across the state, hoping that drivers will call and report human trafficking when they see it.
Many times, victims are afraid to speak for themselves.
“They’ve been battered, they’ve been beat, a lot of times they will ignore officers, they’re afraid of officers because they know the johns or the pimps will beat them if they come for help or assistance,” Ohio State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Marvin Hill said.
State police say more than a thousand teenagers disappear from Ohio into human trafficking networks every year.
Police say they see sex trafficking on highways and labor trafficking in rural farm areas. As part of the program, the state patrol is also working with local police to target areas that aren’t on the turnpike.
They’re hoping to start fighting back against the crime.