Published: February 24, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Teenage girls are being locked in the chains of sexual abuse and forced into prostitution—in Ohio.
The FBI rescued 45 suspected teenage prostitutes on Monday—some as young as 13 years old—as part of a nationwide sweep, NBC 4‘s Mikaela Hunt reported.
Two of the cities involved in the rescue are Toledo and Cleveland. Officials said the bust highlights a growing problem.
Every year, 300,000 American children are at risk of becoming sex slaves. So how prevalent is teenage prostitution in Central Ohio and what’s being done to help the victimized girls?
FBI agents are trying to rescue kids who are caught up in prostitution—and Ohio is right in the middle of the investigation.
From the streets in Houston to Cleveland, Operation Cross County uncovered the trend of underage women forced into prostitution.
After the teenagers are processed, most of them are put into the custody of local child protection agencies. That’s where Gracehaven in Central Ohio comes in.
“We are getting calls already from out of state. They’re wondering if we can take girls in. It’s that desperate,“ said Cliff Treyens, a Gracehaven volunteer.
Treyens has been working with others to get a secure house built in Central Ohio for the teen sex slaves.
The FBI in Central Ohio said Toledo is currently a real hotbed for the activity, but hasn’t seen a lot of action in Columbus.
Treyens said it’s in Central Ohio—but it’s not on the radar of law enforcement.
“Our hope is that this will shed more light on what’s going on in Columbus and Central Ohio,“ Treyens said.
Gracehaven is still waiting to buy a piece of property and is looking for a cosigner to make that happen.