Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Columbus Division of Police Interim Chief Thomas Quinlan and Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force Director Sgt. Mark Rapp announced on Friday the culmination of a human trafficking operation.
A partnership of over 30 law enforcement agencies and social service organizations yielded 104 total arrests, including 53 felony charges, in an operation named “Fourth and Goal.”
“You don’t know when a man buys sex whether it’s genuine consent or, rather, the victim is being forced with a baseball bat, a knife or the next hit of heroin,” Yost said. “When you hear a man talking about buying sex, he never says, ‘I’m buying a woman.’ He talks about a whore, a slut, a piece – and that’s because saying what is really happening is too close to the truth for them to handle. People who think and talk like that know in their heart of hearts – it’s slavery.”
“The Division of Police has been, and continues to be, grateful to work with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office on multiple projects including this recent operation, ‘Fourth and Goal,’ Quinlan said. “By fostering partnerships with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and other local organizations, we look forward to future progress as our PACT team addresses issues which affect quality of life throughout this great city.”
“This operation demonstrates the varying dynamics of sex trafficking operating within our community,” Rapp said. “Street prostitution is only a small part of a much larger complex sex trafficking issue. This operation was a collaboration of over 30 local, state and federal agencies and offices working to address the many hidden crimes within Ohio.”
“Human trafficking happens in our backyard every day, and it takes a village of dedicated leaders and law enforcement partners to save these victims. Thank you Attorney General Yost and all of our law enforcement partners for their efforts to combat human trafficking in Delaware County and across the state. Saving these victims and prosecuting these criminals one person at a time is vital in our fight to end human trafficking.” – Delaware County Prosecutor Melissa Schiffel
A portion of the initiative focused on those seeking to engage in sexual activity with whom they believed to be minor children. This portion of the operation arrested 24 individuals for importuning and attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. One individual faces additional charges of attempted rape and one individual faces an additional charge of disseminating matter harmful for juveniles. All charges are felonies.
The arrested individuals are:
The following individuals were arrested on solicitation charges:
Additionally, 43 women were provided with social services and referred to CATCH Court.
Agencies and social service organizations involved in the operation include: the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, Mahoning County Human Trafficking Task Force, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, Dublin Police Department, Hilliard Police Department, Austintown Police District, Franklin County CATCH Court, Grove City Police Department, Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, Powell Police Department, Independence Police Department, Southeast Mental Health Addiction Services, Salvation Army, Columbus Public Health, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Investigative Unit, Cuyahoga Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, Columbus Division of Police, Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, Columbus City Attorney, U.S. Attorney for Southern Ohio, Franklin County ICAC Task Force, Franklin County HOPE Task Force, Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, Fairfield County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation.