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Washington County Human Trafficking Task Force aids in Operation “Ohio Knows”

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 5:43 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio (WTAP) -The Washington County Human Trafficking task force was one of many departments and organizations across Ohio that helped in the statewide initiative called Operation Ohio Knows. An operation that resulted in the arrest of more than 200 people and freeing 50 potential human trafficking victims.

The operation, coordinated through Ohio’s Organized Crime Investigations Commission, was a collaborative effort that address issues that fuel sex trafficking in Ohio.

Chief Deputy Mark Warden says Washington County’s Human Trafficking Task Force arrested one of the 200 people arrested statewide.

“On September 27th, 28th we participated in Operation Ohio Knows and set up operations in Athens County,” Warden said.

“Multiple agencies were working in the two-day period. We participated in the operation and an arrest was made over there.”

Warden says while there may not be as many human trafficking cases in Washington County as larger city areas, he says it’s an issue the task force is working to combat on a daily basis.

“One thing the task force is going to be working hard on and I believe members of that task force are going to be going to schools and educating students on this type of activity.”

The arrests of 161 individuals seeking to buy sex included three people seeking to buy sex from minors. Most were charged with engaging in prostitution, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Warden says a simultaneous operation carried out by the U.S. Marshals Service recovered 10 missing children.

Warden stressed that this is a large issue he hopes people will help resolve.

“If you suspect, think that somebody may be a victim of human trafficking or if you have knowledge of something, simply give the Washington County Sheriff’s office a call and ask for the Human Trafficking Task Force and we will get you in touch with someone.”

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