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Ohio Governor Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 235 into law on Thursday.
The new law makes human trafficking a stand-alone felony offense and makes compelling a minor under the age of 16 to prostitution a first-degree felony. Kidnapping for the purpose of involuntarily servitude is now a first-degree felony offense as well.
The bill passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 32-0 on December 1st and passed the Ohio House 96-0 this past week.
Ohio now joins 44 other states with felony trafficking offenses. Human trafficking is an issue that has come to national attention in recent years with high-profiled cases discovered in ohio. Toledo ranks the fourth in the nation for active investigations, arrests, and rescues of children who are forced in prostitution.