Ohio Senators: More Needs to Be Done to Stop Sex Trafficking - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Ohio Senators: More Needs to Be Done to Stop Sex Trafficking

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Ohio's location along multiple interstates makes it a hub for sex trafficking.

Recently, U.S. senators Rob Portman, Sherrod Brown and others have taken the next step that could make a difference.

Great strides have been made in curbing sex trafficking in Ohio, and Senators Portman and Brown say more needs to be done.

Prostitution is often referred to as the world's oldest profession. As times have changed, so has the business model.

"This is a worldwide problem, but it's also very much a local problem," Senator Brown said.

However, not every prostitute is a willing participant.

"It's sex slavery, it's just unimaginable to happen to one of your family members," said Senator Brown.

Senator Portman said, "It's unbelievable what's happening in the 21st century that people are being sold; this has moved from the street corner to the smart phone."

Senator Portman and his colleagues have made it a personal mission to stop sex trafficking wherever it is, even where there are no borders.

"The internet has a lot of benefits, but one darkside is the fact that people like Backpage.com are selling  people online in large and larger numbers," Senator Portman said.

When victims of sex trafficking escape, their ability to bring a lawsuit against websites like Backpage.com is limited because of a loophole. That's where proposed legislation comes into play.

"What we are trying to do in our legislation is, very narrowly, say that if you are knowingly involved in sex trafficking; facilitating it, assisting it; that you should not get that immunity," said Senator Portman. "Until you get that new legislation in place, I think it's going to be tough to make the kind of progress we all want to make."

At the local level, the senators say that lawmakers need to continue to ensure police agencies are able to work together to identify and stop traffickers.

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