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Largest human trafficking sting in Ohio history nets 161, including city councilman

By Dean Narcisco | 5 October 2021

USA TODAY (COLUMBUS DISPATCH) — A firefighter, college professor and a Cleveland-area city councilman were among 161 people arrested in a sex sting operation last week, described as the state’s largest focused on human trafficking.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, law enforcement officials from multiple counties, social service providers and former human trafficking victims met in the Ohio Statehouse on Monday to talk about the initiative.

Dubbed “Operation Ohio Knows,” the weeklong sting was intended to create a deterrent for those who seek sex for pay or profit, Yost said.

“We want to send a message to everybody in the country: Don’t buy sex in Ohio,” he said.

‘Operation Ohio Knows’

Law enforcement fanned out across the state, communicating with hundreds of men seeking sex. For every arrest made, officers contacted up to eight “johns” whose actions didn’t meet the elements of any crime, said Chief Deputy Rick Minerd of the Franklin County sheriff’s office.

Three of the perpetrators were willing to pay to have sex with people they thought were minors. Ten minors reported missing were recovered during a simultaneous operation carried out by the U.S. Marshals Service. […]

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