The Columbus City Council is preparing to increase the penalty of “customers” who buy sex in the city. Therefore, they are expected to take stricter positions against human trafficking when the meeting takes place on Monday night.
This order of the City Council will increase the penalty of people who are found guilty of sexual exploitation and assign those fines to a “Fund for victims of human trafficking” to complement the programs to support victims.
Many believe that human trafficking is about prostitution, but they are two completely different concepts. Human trafficking is the transportation, kidnapping, recruitment, transfer, or reception utilizing deception, force, or fraud, all to exploit it to benefit financially.
The proposed ordinance reads: “Ohio ranks fifth in human trafficking cases according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and Columbus represents the largest sex trafficking market in the state.”
In the Hilltop and Franklinton neighborhoods, the corridor was identified as the city’s prostitution arrest center and was recognized in The Dispatch’s award-winning series “Suffering on Sullivant.” Most of the city’s sex workers do it for money to pay for their drug addictions, one of the patterns recognized as the most important factor, as it affects residents’ quality of life.
Jennifer Knight, the Columbus Deputy Police Chief, told The Dispatch in December that those arrested in the city for soliciting a prostitute and buying sex, commonly known as “johns,” have historically faced little consequence for their actions despite that create the market for human trafficking.
Knight said: “Each such violation is $ 74 on average, which is about half the cost of a speeding ticket. And there is no jail time. Also, multiple offenses do not commonly result in increased penalties. “
On the other hand, Knight stated, “Stronger penalties would demonstrate that the city of Columbus is serious about the issue. We need a person to be afraid of driving into a neighborhood to pick up a prostitute.”
Knight proposed a $ 300 fine for a first-time offender. In addition, she said that she also asked the offender to go to “John School,” a program that educates users about the dangers of human trafficking.
The background report of the legislation before the Municipal Council explained that this proposed ordinance would allow to break down the crimes of the current code in the city for buying and selling sex, establishing it as a crime of sexual exploitation, and at the same time, it will increase the sanctions imposed on all women people who are accused of buying sex.