Leaders raise awareness of lingering human trafficking issues - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Leaders raise awareness of lingering human trafficking issues

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Sen. Rob Portman speaks to a crowd about the problems of human trafficking. Sen. Rob Portman speaks to a crowd about the problems of human trafficking.
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

For years, the greater Toledo area has been recognized as a hot spot for human trafficking. On Friday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman held a roundtable discussion on ways to end human trafficking with community leaders at the University of Toledo.

Portman is co-chairman of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking and recently introduced bipartisan legislation to better protect missing and exploited children in the U.S. The Bringing Missing Children Home Act improves law enforcement reporting and response procedures in cases of missing children by refining and streamlining how these cases are handled.

"Our bill will ensure that law enforcement and state and local child welfare systems, the organizations responsible for finding missing children, are able to work together efficiently and effectively on accomplishing their joint mission," said Portman. "This bill will help our nation's most vulnerable children, who far too often fall prey to sex trafficking. These children have been forgotten or disregarded by a system that was established to keep them safe, and our bill will ensure that we treat children who are exploited as victims, not as criminals."

Portman met with local officials to learn from the people on the front lines of the fight against human trafficking, including law enforcement, social workers and elected officials. 

He also wanted to bring officials up to speed on work being done in Washington. Portman used the recent FBI Super Bowl sex trafficking arrests as an example that this is a continuing problem nationwide.

"The more I learn about this, the more concerned I am about it. And we have to be sure that we do everything we can to stop it. And also to provide the services to these young people who are exploited and get involved in this," said Portman.

 


 

Learn more about human trafficking and how you can help.

If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the following departments:

-Department of Health and Human Services national hotline at 888-373-7888 

-Department of Justice complaint line at 888-428-7581

These hotlines will help you determine if you have encountered victims of human trafficking, identify local resources available in your community to help victims, and help you coordinate with local social service organizations.

You can also contact your:

-State's Attorney General victim/witness coordinator

-Local FBI field office  

-Local nongovernmental organization, which provides services to victims of trafficking

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