COLUMBUS—Today, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 262, which requires that a minor who is a victim of trafficking in persons be provided with appropriate services. These services include developing procedures for reuniting the minor with the family members in the minor’s country of origin, developing procedures for administering special physical and mental healthcare to the victim, and taking necessary action to promote awareness of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline in areas of high visibility and high trafficking activity.
This bill is designed to protect victims of human trafficking from criminal prosecution, focusing prosecution efforts on human traffickers. This legislation will exempt minor victims of trafficking from the offense of solicitation if the crime is committed under duress or coercion. This bill is a follow up to Senate Bill 235, which increased penalties for human trafficking, passed during the previous General Assembly.
“This legislation plays a vital role in Ohio’s defense against human trafficking,” said House Speaker William G. Batchelder. “Human trafficking has been on the rise in recent years, specifically in Ohio, and it is important that we are implementing the necessary safeguards to ensure both that our children are safe in their own neighborhoods and that these criminals are prosecuted accordingly.”
Ohio is a prime location for trafficking because of its highway system and access to international airports. There have been cases of human trafficking reported in every county in the state.
H.B. 262 passed with unanimous support in the House and will now be sent to the Senate for further consideration.</blockquote>