State Rep. Teresa Fedor’s (D-Toledo) End Demand Act, Sub. House Bill 130, was signed into law this morning in the presence of a coalition of supporters and notable trafficking survivors.
Rep. Fedor has been working with the Governor’s office and other interested parties over the last several months to pass House Bill 130 – legislation aimed at tackling the black market-driven demand for purchasing commercial sex with a minor.
“We came out with a strong bill–one that builds upon the progress that we’ve made in combatting human trafficking through the Safe Harbor Act and others,” Rep. Fedor said. “Ohio can at last join the other 29 states that have strengthened their laws to address demand. We’ve moved the needle in reducing demand.”
House Bill 130 increases the penalty for purchasing sex from a minor from a misdemeanor to a felony. Other key provisions include requiring offenders of a child 15 years and under or an individual with developmental disabilities to register as sex offenders; broadening Ohio’s definition of trafficking to include fraud; prohibiting the advertisement of sexual activity for hire if the materials depict a minor; terminating parental rights for those found trafficking their children or other minors; and restricting the use of “massage” and related terms in advertising with the suggestion or promise of sexual activity.
Rep. Fedor became a champion of anti-human trafficking policies eight years ago when reports of a trafficking ring identified 77 victims from Toledo, Ohio. Of the victims, 38 were under 18 years of age and one was only 10 years old. Since then, Rep. Fedor has been determined to pass bipartisan legislation, saying it’s a “humanitarian issue that no one can turn their back on.” The bill contains an emergency clause, making it law immediately upon the Governor’s signature.
“No political lines are involved when there’s a violation of human rights,” said Rep. Fedor. “We cannot deny that this is a modern-day abolition movement. As policymakers, we put aside partisan divisions and made the youth of our state the first priority. With the passage of this bill, we have moved the ball forward in so many ways to protect our children and provide services and justice for victims. I want to thank the Governor’s office for their hard work on this bill.”