109 Women & 45 Kids Rescued in Anti-Human Trafficking Operation

Written by on October 29, 2020

By Jeremy Wiles & Kayla Sullivan of KingdomWorks Studios & Soul Refiners

As the world has focused on politics and COVID-19, one evil appears to have been overlooked – human trafficking.  In fact, some have suggested that cases of human trafficking have been on the rise, primarily as a result of COVID-19.  One U.S. state is declaring that enough is enough.

Largest Anti-Human Trafficking Operation in State History

Several months ago, Ohio put a plan in motion to launch “Operation Autumn Hope”.  This anti-human trafficking initiative is the largest of its kind in state history.

Launching this plan across five counties in October, the U.S. Marshals Service in conjunction with several state and local officials focused their attention on both adult sex trafficking and saving child sex victims. Already, they have seen tremendous results.

  • The U.S. Marshals Service was able to clear up 76 cases related to missing or exploited children, with 45 kids being physically rescued.
  • Ohio’s Attorney General, Dave Yost, reported that 109 women, primarily adults, were rescued from human trafficking and referred to social services to begin their healing journey.
  • Authorities arrested 157 men across three counties, charging them with solicitation and other various crimes.
  • An additional 22 men were arrested for attempting to have sexual relations with a minor.

Stories like this, though they do not receive much media attention, shine the light on this growing industry. If we want to stand up and combat these atrocities, education is key.

The Rise of Human Trafficking

As reported by Fox News in Houston earlier this year, grooming typically begins through social media or some other internet-based connection. According to experts, traffickers will invest months in grooming their victims online. They may seem attentive to hardship and heartache, vowing to be there for their victim. Other times, they will lure people in through job postings or model searches.

While anyone can become a victim of human trafficking, predators typically zone in on a number of factors. They seek out vulnerable individuals, possibly displaced youth who are either runaways or have been in the foster system. Or, they will focus on those that are somewhat mentally unstable or struggle with substance abuse. They may also target those with an unstable home life or those facing mounting financial stress.

How COVID-19 has Fueled the Trafficking Industry

Some have stated that COVID-19 has exacerbated a lot of issues for individuals, making them even more vulnerable to the world of human trafficking. Sondra Miller, president and CEO of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center states,

“Human trafficking thrives in the shadows of our communities where survivors feel unseen and unheard, and the COVID pandemic has made those shadows bigger and darker, making far too many women, children, and men fall prey.”

What You May Not Know About Sexual Exploitation

It’s true that not every case of human trafficking is sexually related. However, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, sexual exploitation accounts for 79% of all human trafficking cases.

As reported in an article released by the Family Research Council in 2017, conditions within the sex trade are horrendous.

  • Approximately 88% of pornographic videos depict violence.
  • More than 80% of sexually exploited teenage girls have been sexually abused as a child.
  • The average life expectancy of someone involved in commercial sexual exploitation is 7 years. In other words, a 15-year-old trafficking victim is likely to be dead by the age of 22.
  • Nearly half of all rescued sex trafficking survivors report being forced to participate in pornography.
  • A survey of female sex trafficking survivors found that at least half of those who reported having an abortion indicated that the abortion was forced on them.  In some cases, the cost of these abortions was then added to the debt owed to their trafficker.

We must no longer turn a blind eye to the realities that are happening around us.  As long as a demand is present, human trafficking, pornography, prostitution, and ultimately abortion will continue to increase.  We must quit indulging in self-gratification and understand how our actions are contributing to the dark world of human trafficking.

Changing Direction

With every click of the mouse, someone else is being victimized.

Maybe today is the day that you recognize your own involvement in this vile world. Or maybe you realize that you have been denying the truth for too long. Maybe you are a pastor or ministry leader who is finally recognizing the importance of stepping up and becoming part of the solution to a huge problem. Whatever position you find yourself in today, know that there is hope for you.

Do not allow Satan to hold you as a prisoner to your past. You can be redeemed. While you cannot rewrite the past, you can change the direction of the future.

Making a Difference – One Choice at a Time

Individuals and ministry leaders alike can greatly benefit from SoulRefiner.com, a digital streaming platform released in 2020 that focuses on bringing inner-healing to the church.

Currently, courses include both the Conquer Series and Warpath. These are powerful studies for men who desire to break free from the struggle with pornography and sexual sin. Soul Refiner also hosts Stronger Together, a 5-week course for married couples who desire reconnection in their relationship.

Soul Refiner is an evolving platform, so be on the lookout for additional studies in the coming months and years. Future topics will include betrayal, parenting, marriage, and more.

Don’t wait! Now is the time to rise up and help prepare the body of Christ to wage war against the enemy. Are you ready to become part of the solution?


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