Toledo is considered a hub — along with Miami, Portland, Ore., and Las Vegas — for the human trafficking of minors. That is, the abduction of children to enslave them in the sex trade.
Human trafficking is an assault on humanity. So it is welcome news that Toledo is getting a round-the-clock shelter for runaway youths, the people most at risk of trafficking. A $290,000 federal grant and state and nonprofit support will back the project.
Toledo Area Ministries will use 12 AmeriCorps personnel to support the shelter. Four more AmeriCorps members will work for the National Safe Place Program. This program helps runaways know where to turn for help.
State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), who has led the fight against human trafficking in Ohio, calls trafficking in Toledo an “epidemic.” The new shelter is a vital advance in the war on modern slavery, as are the efforts of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to step up prosecution, and the work of lawmakers such as Ms. Fedor to increase public awareness and concern.
Many local shelters are struggling for funds, so the runaway facility will need consistent attention and support. Human trafficking must end, and that process can start in Toledo.