Instructing State Agencies to Provide Human Trafficking Training, Investigate Human Trafficking Cases, and Coordinate Services and Treatment for Victims of Human Trafficking
WHEREAS, in 2019, the University of Cincinnati’s School of Criminal Justice conducted a study of human trafficking within the State of Ohio. This study was funded by the Office of Criminal Justice Services and found that between 2014 and 2016, there were 1,032 known victims of human trafficking in Ohio, and an additional 4,209 people who were at risk for human trafficking; and
WHEREAS, in 2019, Ohio reported the fifth-highest number of human trafficking cases to the National Human Trafficking Hotline compared to other states. Reported cases identified men, women, and children who were compelled into providing commercial sex acts and forced labor for the profit of often violent traffickers; and
WHEREAS, every region in Ohio – both rural and urban - is affected by human trafficking. Victims remain in the shadows of Ohio’s child welfare system, prisons and jails, schools, legitimate and illegitimate businesses, among other places; and
WHEREAS, in response to the nature and prevalence of human trafficking in Ohio, it is a priority of my administration to continue building a coordinated response to address human trafficking through prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership; and
WHEREAS, to comprehensively address human trafficking, the goals of my administration are to prevent human trafficking through the development of strategies to reach at-risk populations, to reduce the demand for forced labor and commercial sex, to protect victims by ensuring that survivors receive the services and treatment they need to sustainably recover from the effects of their trauma through the availability of integrated physical, behavioral, and trauma treatments, and prosecute offenders through criminal justice training and capacity building.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike DeWine, Governor of the State of Ohio, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Ohio, do hereby order and direct that:
1. The Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force previously established in 2012 under Executive Order 2012-06K is hereby ordered to continue the coordinated statewide efforts to prevent human trafficking, identify and serve survivors, encourage a coordinated law enforcement system to investigate and prosecute these crimes, and to provide the services and treatment necessary for survivors to regain control of their lives. In carrying out these activities, the Task Force shall continue to focus on identifying sex and labor trafficking and serving survivors inclusive of men, women, and children, both foreign and domestic.
2. The Task Force shall be comprised of the following agencies:
a. Ohio Department of Public Safety
b. Ohio Department of Job and Family Services – including the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund
c. Ohio Department of Health
d. Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
e. Ohio Department of Youth Services
f. Ohio Department of Education
g. Ohio Department of Agriculture
h. Ohio Cosmetology and Barber Board
i. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
j. Ohio Department of Transportation
k. Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities
l. State Medical Board of Ohio
m. Ohio Department of Medicaid
n. Ohio Department of Commerce
3. The Task Force shall work in partnership with local anti-trafficking coalitions, law enforcement task forces, the courts, federal partners, and others to build a more coordinated and holistic state-level response to the crime of human trafficking.
4. The Office of Criminal Justice Services shall develop bi-annual Task Force priorities based on the gaps and opportunities within Ohio’s anti-trafficking response system.
5. The Office of Criminal Justice Services shall develop and release a bi-annual report, detailing Task Force accomplishments and status updates on the Task Force priorities.
6. The Task Force shall be led by the State Anti-Trafficking Coordinator housed within the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services. The Office of Criminal Justice Services shall have administrative authority over the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.
7. Within 120 days from the day this Executive Order is signed, the Task Force shall:
a. Establish 2021 - 2022 priorities;
b. Convene a Task Force meeting with agency directors;
c. Evaluate current policy to find any barriers to identifying survivors of human trafficking and linking them with necessary services and treatments, and to recommend changes to policy if needed; and
d. Collaborate with other Governor’s Office initiatives including, but not limited to, RecoveryOhio and the Office on Children’s Initiatives, to identify overlapping priorities and common goals.
8. Executive Order 2012-06K is rescinded and replaced by this Order.
I signed this Executive Order on January 29, 2021 in Cedarville, Ohio and it will not expire unless rescinded.
Mike DeWine, Governor
Frank LaRose, Secretary of State