COLUMBUS – State Reps. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) and Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) yesterday gave sponsor testimony on House Bill 276, legislation that aims to better target pimps and traffickers and aid in the fight against human sex trafficking in Ohio.
The bill, known as the Prosecuting Trafficking Proceeds Act, prohibits an individual from knowingly receiving money or anything of value that was exchanged for sexual activity, making it a third degree felony or a second degree felony if the victim is a minor.
“This piece of legislation will give law enforcement another tool to fight the injustice of human trafficking in our communities and across Ohio,” said Powell.
Powell and Schmidt noted that current law makes it difficult to charge pimps and trafficking because they are not physically present at the scene where prostitution is occurring.
“This bill will make it easier for law enforcement to tie traffickers and pimps to the illegal act, no matter how far they are from the crime,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt also noted that in 2020, Ohio had over 200 investigations related to human trafficking and identified nearly 150 potential victims. Studies show that there is an estimate of 1,032 known minor and young adult victims and 4,209 at-risk individuals.
The measure has the support of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
H.B. 276 awaits additional hearings in the House Criminal Justice Committee.