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US Attorney Addresses Human Trafficking in Ohio

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CLEVELAND, Ohio —

The growing problem of human trafficking was brought to light in Cleveland Wednesday.

It’s estimated that between 400,000 and 1.7 million people are being held against their will worldwide. What’s even more troubling is the fact that many of the victims are right here in northeast Ohio, being forced to participate in either illegal sex or labor activities.

Addressing a crowd at the City Club, United States Attorney Steven Dettelbach said that between 14 and 17,000 people have been taken in the U.S.

Before coming to Cleveland, Dettelbach coordinated the Justice Department’s efforts to fight human trafficking. He also successfully prosecuted one of the largest rings in U.S. history.

Dettelbach says within the last 16 months, 20 people have been charged with similar crimes in northeast Ohio.

“It would be nice to think this is only an inner-city problem, or that it was a rural problem, this commercial sex problem is a problem literally everywhere,” Dettelbach said.

Dettelbach also believes that human trafficking is an under-reported crime, with many of the victims terrified of coming forward.