Human Trafficking Victim's Life Saved During Traffic Stop, Highway Patrol Says


When I first heard the phrase “modern-day slavery” several years ago, I assumed it was a fundraising gimmick or a kind of good-hearted hyperbole. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Servitude really does happen in our day and age, and it doesn’t look like chattel ownership of another person. Rather, it occurs around the margins of society in the dark places that few ever see.

Fortunately, civil authorities have recognized the existence of human trafficking and taken concrete steps to stop it. Indeed, a routine traffic stop in Ohio ended up saving a young woman pressed into servitude.

On April 16, Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Mitch Ross noticed that a 2013 Nissan Sentra had made a minor traffic violation when it failed to move over while on the Ohio Turnpike, according to WKYC.

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Ross pulled the sedan over. Normally, such an infraction would’ve resulted in a ticket and a stern talk from the trooper.

However, Ross soon noticed that something wasn’t right with the car’s two occupants. For one thing, the male and female within had a distinct age discrepancy.

The man was about 35 years old. The girl was merely 15.

Neither could speak English nor produce identification when asked.

Suspecting he had a human-trafficking situation on his hands, Ross radioed in for help.

Over 1,000 human-trafficking victims had passed through the Buckeye State from 2014 to 2016, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. More than 4,000 individuals were at risk of being trafficked during the same period.

Shockingly, 86 percent of them were minors. Officials who compiled the numbers said that their statistics likely missed a great number of victimized people.

Ross was determined that the girl he discovered wouldn’t be one of them. After determining that the girl and the man hailed from El Salvador, he got a translator involved.

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Investigators quickly discovered that the man was taking the girl from New Jersey to Chicago. After looking into a missing persons database, they found that the girl had gone missing in New Jersey.

She also said that the man had forced her to perform various unseemly acts. Police quickly arrested him and took the girl to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.

Ohio has taken strong steps to eliminate human trafficking in recent years, according to WDTN. The state has partnered with Illinois, Indiana and Michigan state police to eliminate the practice.

In this case, it absolutely worked. Here’s to a quick reunion for this young woman and her doubtlessly heartsick family.

To report a case of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline Resource Center at (888) 373-7888 or contact the BeFree text line by texting HELP or INFO to 233733.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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