Operation Autumn Hope: More than 100 human trafficking survivors rescued

Operation Autumn Hope: Over 100 human trafficking survivors rescued, 177 people charged

More than 100 victims of human trafficking have been rescued and 177 people are facing charges.

The arrests and recoveries were part of Operation Autumn Hope, a sweep that involved 50 law enforcement agencies across Ohio, including U.S. Marshals, the FBI and local police, WHIO reported.

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Officials said the operation was the largest anti-human trafficking in the state’s history.

Attorney General Dave Yost said human trafficking is “modern day slavery.”

According to WHIO, members of law enforcement had four priorities during the sweep:

  • Rescuing victims and referring them to social services.
  • Recovering missing and exploited children.
  • Catching people trying to have sex with a minor.
  • Arresting male johns trying to buy sex.

In southern Ohio, 76 missing and exploited children cases were closed and 45 children were recovered by U.S. Marshals, WHIO reported.

The Attorney General’s office said 157 arrests were made in only three counties, WBNS reported.

In one case, a 14-year-old was found six hours after being reported missing, according to WBNS.

FILE PHOTO: Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost speaks in Columbus, Ohio. Yost announced the arrest 177 people during Operation Autumn Hope.
FILE PHOTO: Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost speaks in Columbus, Ohio. Yost announced the arrest 177 people during Operation Autumn Hope. (Julie Carr Smyth/AP)