COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the state has developed a national reputation as a crossroads for the sex trade.
DeWine said a report written by Professor Celia Williamson of the University of Toledo provides the state with more insight into who is more likely to get trafficked.
A few years ago, a federal sting in Harrisburg, Pa., found that 77 of 177 females involved in a sex-trafficking operation were from the Toledo area,The Community Press & Recorder in Cincinnati reported.
Researchers spoke with victims primarily in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. They found more than one-third of the sample said they were trafficked for sex before the age of 18 and some said they were trafficked before age 12.
A majority of female victims said they were recruited by other women who were also involved in the sex trade or who acted like a friend, the report said
The study also identified several similar early indicators considered high-risk factors for Ohio youth being lured into the sex trade including:
-- 63 percent reported they ran away from home at least once.
-- 59 percent reported they had friends who were involved in selling themselves.
-- 47 percent reported being raped more than a year before they were trafficked.
-- 44 percent reported being victims of abuse.
"The number of victims who were runaways before their involvement with sex trafficking is very telling," DeWine said said in a statement.
In Cincinnati, the people who purchased sex most often were drug dealers, followed closely by factory workers, construction workers and truckers, the Press & Recorder said.