Eight individuals were arrested for attempting to buy sex during an anti-human trafficking operation that took place in the northeastern region of the state, according to Attorney General Dave Yost.
The mission, Operation Fouled Out, involved the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission and focused on Cleveland, leading up to the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Game.
“This operation’s mission was twofold: to arrest johns soliciting sex and to proactively encounter potential victims,” Yost said. “Our task reinforced both the consequences for buying sex and the pathways available for victims to find a way out.”
In addition to the arrests, potential human trafficking victims were given access to mental and physical healthcare resources.
“We are proud to showcase our city to the nation and world on this All-Star weekend, but we want to be clear that sexual violence and human trafficking have no place here,” added Sondra Miller, President and CEO of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. “We applaud the agencies that work collaboratively to hold sex offenders accountable today and every day.”
The Organized Crime Investigations Commission has placed an emphasis on stopping human trafficking. Previously, an Ohio man was convicted on 15 different charges relating to his role in a human trafficking scheme with his girlfriend.
Grant Rose and his girlfriend, Susan Walendzik, trafficked a minor and controlled her by getting her addicted to narcotics and fueling her addiction.
“This couple sowed the seeds of degradation: addiction, violence and sexual abuse – and will now reap the grim reality of decades behind bars,” Yost said at the time. “My hope is that these sentences empower the once-victim to recognize she’s a survivor so she can reclaim her true identity.”
After his conviction, he was sentenced to more than 42 years in prison.
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