New help for human trafficking survivors, children targeted by traffickers in Ohio

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There is new help on two fronts in the battle against human trafficking in Ohio.

Monday Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a new program aimed at identifying and protecting children at high risk for being trafficked.

State agents will work with local police to help identify the young people most vulnerable and train officers on how to intervene.

"We still think this is a grossly under-reported crime," DeWine said. "We still think there are a lot of kids out there who are being trafficked in one form or another."

DeWine also announced funding to provide safe, sober housing for trafficking survivors.

10TV has previously reported on Franklin County's CATCH Court program, which helps trafficking survivors break the cycle of abuse, addiction and jail.

DeWine announced Monday nearly $130,000 in funding for Amethyst, which provides housing for the women of CATCH Court and their children.

"It's everything, quite honestly," said Lois Hochstetler of Amethyst, Inc. "If you don't have a safe place to live, you're not going to be able to focus on the treatment and on getting better. A lot of the women have been trafficked fairly frequently and fairly recently. So if they don't have a safe place to live away from their traffickers, they're going to get back into the lifestyle very quickly."

The grant announced Monday will cover the costs of housing 12 survivors for a two-year period.

Click here to read the Attorney General's 2016 Annual Report on Human Trafficking in Ohio.