Manchester’s bill headed to governor

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Senate has given final approval to State Representative Susan Manchester’s, R- Waynesfield, legislation to help victims of human trafficking.

Manchester’s bill, House Bill 427, will help prosecutors crack down on human traffickers, by expanding the definition of compelling a victim to include the use of a controlled substance.

“When human traffickers use drugs to compel their victims, we need to make sure we are empowering those in the fight against human trafficking by giving them the tools they need to hold criminals accountable,” she said.

House Bill 427 previously passed the House unanimously. It now goes to the desk of Gov. Mike DeWine.

“This bill is an important step forward in the fight against human trafficking, but there’s more work to do to combat this terrible crime,” she said.

Ohio is one of the top five states in the nation for reported trafficking cases. In 2020 law enforcement reported 216 human trafficking investigations leading to 76 arrests and 18 successful criminal convictions. There were a total of 148 potential victims identified, including 146 potential victims of sex trafficking. 106 of the victims identified drugs, alcohol or other dependencies as a contributing factor to being trafficked.