On December 29th, 2010, the governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland, signed into law a broad attempt to end  human trafficking in his state. Human trafficking is the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them. Sex slavery and sex work are considered major forms of human trafficking. Under SB 235, human trafficking is a second-degree felony; penalties increase when there is proof of kidnapping for the purpose of involuntary servitude and compelling prostitution of minors. Also, SB 235 will allow law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to target individuals involved in sex and human trafficking.

While this law, and others like it in states including Louisiana, is good news for anti-trafficking advocates, there are still clear limitations to its efficacy these advocates want to see fixed. For example, it does not hold customers of sex workers and recipients of sex trafficking accountable. That the Ohio law does not automatically hold customers accountable makes it different than the Federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act.  Other sex-worker advocacy groups critique the entire  anti-trafficking framework, however. To them, sex workers should have the same rights as other working people, and not be criminalized for it. Their focus is to protect and promote the rights of individuals who engage in sex work, regardless of whether they do so by choice, circumstance, or coercion.

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