Selling people is evil crime

Published 10:55 am Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The sale of human being should rank at the top of the list of the most heinous crimes perpetrated in our society.

To see that “human trafficking” and the sex trade is a growing illicit industry across the nation and right here in Ohio is appalling and also a sad commentary on our culture.

We applaud the Ohio Legislature for its efforts to strengthen the laws and the punishment handed out for those who practice this revolting crime.

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Hopefully, Gov. Ted Strickland will move forward and sign the bill into a law later this week as is expected.

According to the Associated Press, the bill would create a new ‘‘human trafficking’’ specification that prosecutors could attach to related crimes to increase prison sentences. This is a similar approach to the way penalties are more severe if a crime involves a firearm.

The new classification would also mandate jail time for those convicted of promoting prostitution, illegally using a minor in pornography and endangering children.

While many people may mistakenly believe that this crime is reserved for third-world countries or major metropolitan areas such as New York or Los Angeles, the reality is that this level of crime is going on right here in Ohio.

A federal investigation into a child prostitution ring in Harrisburg, Pa., exposed Toledo as a center for the trade in 2005. Nine local girls had been sold as sex slaves as part of the ring, and at least 12 of the 31 people charged had ties to Toledo.

The proposed bill also strongly recommends that the attorney general create a special commission to study how Ohio’s laws might be further modified to address human trafficking. This is another positive step since the reality may be that these increased penalties may not be enough and the state may need to put more emphasis on catching offenders.

The days of slavery have long since ended and we must strive to keep it that way.