Study Indicates Ohio is Hub of Sex & Labor Trafficking
A new report released yesterday by the Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission indicates that approximately 1,800 American and immigrant children are coerced into sex-trafficking or forced labor in Ohio. Professor Celia Williamson of the University of Toledo, who led the research for the study, explained, "Ohio is not only a destination place for foreign-born trafficking victims, but it's also a recruitment place," according to CBS News.
The report indicated that state laws are a probable reason for the concentration of human trafficking in Ohio. According to the Dayton Daily News, the report said, "state laws do play a role in the decision-making of human trafficking organizations that are sophisticated and networked...Those more sophisticated trafficking rings are aware of the laws and potential risk of doing business in a particular US state." Toledo, Ohio, ranks fourth in US cities for child sex trafficking arrests, behind Miami, Portland, and Las Vegas. Sex trafficking in other states is also often linked to illegal activity in Ohio. According to the Boston Globe a child prostitution ring that was busted in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 2005 had its center of operations in Toledo.
According to the Dayton Daily News, state Senator Teresa Fedor (D) plans to introduce a bill prohibiting human and sex trafficking. Similar laws exist in 42 states. In states with no-tolerance human trafficking laws, convicted traffickers can face up to 100 years in prison. Currently, law enforcement in Ohio must attach a human trafficking specification to crimes, rather than prosecute offenders under a stand-alone trafficking law, according to the Boston Globe. Sex trafficking victims are also at risk for being arrested for prostitution, while their traffickers often do not face criminal consequences.
Media Resources: Dayton Daily News 2/11/2010; The Boston Globe 2/11/2010; CBS News 2/11/2010
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .