Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with 46 other state and territorial attorneys general, sent letters to Congress today asking them to fund the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).
The funding would go towards programs that fight human trafficking in the United States and abroad.
"Human trafficking is a problem that will not go away unless we have the tools to fight it," DeWine said. "By funding the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, Congress will be taking the right action towards preventing this crime and helping those who have already fallen victim to human traffickers."
Established in 2000, the TVPRA greatly increased America’s efforts to protect human trafficking victims, assist survivors, improve prevention methods and successfully prosecute human traffickers. The original legislation established human trafficking as a federal crime.
Copies of the letters sent to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies are available on the the Attorney General's website.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world, generating about $32 billion each year. A study of U.S. Department of Justice human trafficking task force cases shows that, 83 percent of sex trafficking victims identified in the United States were U.S. citizens. The average age that U.S. citizens are first used for commercial sex is 12 to 14.
In addition to Attorney General DeWine, attorneys general from the following states/territories signed the letter sent to Congress today: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
DeWine has been aggressive in his fight to end human trafficking since taking office in 2011.
In June, DeWine released the first annual Human Trafficking Statistics Report, as required by Ohio's Safe Harbor Law. (NOTE: A full copy of the report is available by scrolling to end of this story and clicking on the link.)
Attorney General DeWine also reestablished the Human Trafficking Commission to work to analyze, research, and find solutions to the human trafficking problem. The commission released an in-depth report on Ohio's human trafficking problem in August 2012.
Additionally, Attorney General DeWine formed the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Collaborative to bring greater focus to the problem of human trafficking, add capacity to respond to human trafficking cases, and build communication channels across jurisdictional boundaries.