Posts Tagged 'Human Trafficking'

Rep. Teresa Fedor Applauds Passage of Human Trafficking Victim Protection Bill

State Rep. Teresa Fedor released the following statement on the passage of Am. Sub. House Bill 262 by a unanimous vote in the House of Representatives.

“I am overwhelmed that this critical legislation has received such broad support.  We have a child sexual abuse crime wave in Ohio.  The passage of HB 262 today is a huge victory for victims of human trafficking.  This is a problem that deserves immediate attention by my colleagues in the Senate.  The time to take action is now, we must protect the victims of these heinous acts of human slavery and stop the individuals that are the benefactors of this underground criminal network.

“Am. Sub. H.B. 262 or the Safe Harbor Act, aims to help juvenile victims of human trafficking. This victim-centered legislation follows a three-prong approach of providing protection, prosecution, and prevention.  We’re protecting our minors by providing them with services instead of an arrest warrant.  We’re aiding in prosecution by creating greater penalties for human trafficking, and providing a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.  We’re preventing continued trafficking by increasing penalties against buyers of commercial sex.

“House Bill 262 not only creates a safe haven for the victims of human trafficking, but also goes after the offenders that profit and engage in this criminal activity.  We must ensure that strict laws are in place to deter and punish this type of crime. This bill would not have been possible without the support of key state decision makers and Governor Kasich.”

This important legislation will now move to the Senate for passage.

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State Rep. Teresa Fedor Urges Legislative Action to Prevent Human Trafficking

State Rep. Teresa Fedor is pleased to announce that House Bill 262 was unanimously passed out of the House Judiciary and Ethics committee and will be on the house floor for a vote soon.

“We’ve continued our efforts to apply a victim-centered approach.  Human trafficking is an awful crime that has become a disturbing reality in communities across our state.  This is a problem that deserves our immediate attention.  The time to take action is now, we must protect the victims of these heinous acts of human slavery and stop the individuals that are the benefactors of this underground criminal network,” said Rep. Fedor.

“House Bill 262 not only creates a safe haven for the victims of human trafficking, but also goes after the offenders that profit and engage in this criminal activity.  We must ensure that strict laws are in place to deter and punish this type of crime.”

The legislation puts in place healthcare services for victims of human trafficking as well as keeps them from being prosecuted for prostitution.

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Ohio Summit on Women and HIV/AIDS Video Now Available Online

The Ohio Summit on Women and HIV/AIDS, led by State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) was held on March 15, 2012, and is now available to watch online via the Ohio Channel’s website. The summit was meant to build strategic connections to battle this critical women’s health issue. Rep. Antonio is proud to announce that the event was a great success.

HIV/AIDS is increasingly becoming a “women’s epidemic” in the United States. Some women, especially those living in poverty or at-risk situations, such as domestic violence or human trafficking, are more likely to face barriers in accessing HIV prevention, treatment and care. The Summit provided an opportunity to bring together professionals from women serving organizations around Ohio. Professionals who work in human services fields such as social work, health education, mental health and chemical dependency attended.

We had attendees from various organizations in Ohio and some from across the country. We also had 12 speakers present during the event.  There was an abundance of educational materials and business cards exchanged. We shared personal stories along with informational ways to spread awareness and how to work within human service fields. Since the summit, already new collaborations have been made.

Women’s Caucus Calls for Focus on Policies to Support Women & Families

The Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus today held a press conference to discuss several pieces of legislation focused on advancing rights and opportunities in all aspects of women’s lives.

“Women are a majority of the population and can make a difference when we unite behind legislation that will improve lives of women and families,” said State Representative Nancy Garland (D-New Albany), Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “Women’s History Month is a great time to refocus our attention on common-sense policies designed to support, benefit and encourage the advancement of women here in Ohio.”

Several bills recently introduced by members of the Women’s Caucus help ensure all women have access to quality healthcare, including HB 419, the CARE Act; HB 281, the Prevention First Act; and HB 412, to establish health insurance exchanges in Ohio. All three bills were introduced by State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood).

“We must continue to support Ohio women’s right to access basic healthcare and accurate information regarding their healthcare decisions,” Rep. Antonio said. “These rights should not be legislated away nor used as a political football. Women’s lives hang in the balance.”

Members of Women’s Caucus have also introduced legislation to protect Ohio women and families from violations of their right to safety and security. HB 262, sponsored by State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), aims to stop human sex trafficking in Ohio and to protect young women and girls from being forced into sexual slavery.

“Human trafficking victims are more likely to have HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and are more likely to suffer from mental illness,” Rep. Fedor said. “And the average trafficking victim wants to leave prostitution but can’t.”

A woman’s right to security also extends to security in her own home. State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) is cosponsoring HB 103, a bill to protect victims of domestic violence by keeping their home addresses confidential. Additionally, State Rep. Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) is cosponsoring HB 105, legislation to protect and support domestic violence victims by guaranteeing their rights to safety at home and at work.

“Survivors of domestic violence deserve to live safe from their abusers. I truly hope Ohio can join 37 other states by enacting this important Address Confidentiality Program legislation,” said Rep. Clyde.

“Victims’ advocates have said that stability in housing and employment are the largest hurdles in keeping their lives together, staying safe and protecting their children,” said Rep. Driehaus. “We need to empower victims so they know it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to ask for time off, it’s okay to ask for new locks, and it’s okay to leave when their safety or their children’s safety are at risk.”

In addition to discussing the many pieces of women-focused legislation, the members of the Women’s Caucus reinforced their commitment to creating good-paying, long-term jobs for Ohio’s women through job creation measures such as the Local Government Jobs Fund and the Small Business Working Capital Loan Program.

Rep. Fedor Sponsors 3rd Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day

State Representative Teresa Fedor and the National Association of Social Workers hosted the Third Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day at the Columbus Statehouse.  Special guests included Attorney General Mike DeWine, Amy Allen of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Attorney James Moroney, Lucas County Judge Connie Zemmelman, Franklin County Judge Paul Herbert, Montgomery County Judge Gregory Singer, and Theresa Flores, survivor and Director of Awareness and Training for Gracehaven. 

Representative Fedor has been organizing Human Trafficking Awareness Days to bring light to this important issue.  Cases of human trafficking have been reported in every county in Ohio – from forced labor at massage parlors, to parents selling their children for drugs, to a highly-organized gang operation that recruited and moved underage girls from one location to another selling them for sex.  Human trafficking is a very real problem that is affecting more than 1,000 Ohio children every year.  More than 3,000 Ohio children are considered to be high risk for trafficking.

Representative Fedor has also introduced new legislation, H.B. 262 or the Safe Harbor Act, which aims help minor victims of human trafficking.  “When a minor is being sexually exploited, that minor is often arrested on prostitution charges and is sent to jail.  Quite simply, this does not solve the problem.  If the arrested minor is instead provided with needed services to recover, that minor will be able to break the cycle of abuse and become a contributing member of society.  Without some form of intervention, 77 percent of sexually exploited youth simply continue to be prostitutes in adulthood,” said Rep. Fedor.


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