Human trafficking is the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Victims of trafficking are exploited for commercial sex or labor purposes through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Lt. Terry Pasko from Akron Police Dept. reported at a 2012 workshop that approximately 100,000 – 300,000 underage children are being sold in America every year. Pasko indicated that the most likely victims of trafficking are “juveniles, those who’ve aged out of foster care and runaways.” In fact, according to the Ohio Attorney General, Ohio cited 13 years old as the most common age in Ohio for youth to become victims of child sex trafficking.
Due to the limited number of identified victims in Summit County, statistics about this heinous crime are unavailable to the general public.