Published: October 2, 2023
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today announced the success of a weeklong statewide human trafficking crackdown, “Operation Buyer’s Remorse,” which sought to arrest those trying to buy sex and to identify survivors of human trafficking.
“Law enforcement across Ohio teamed up in a concerted effort to stem the demand that fuels human trafficking,” Yost said. “The success of this operation is measured not only by the number of arrests but also by the resources offered to survivors of human trafficking and the intelligence gathered that will propel long-term investigations forward.”
Led by AG Yost’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC), Operation Buyer’s Remorse was a collaborative effort that took place from Sept. 25 to Sept. 30 in every corner of the state, including in and around Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Akron, Youngstown, Marietta and Portsmouth.
The operation led to 160 arrests and was comprised of coordinated “stings” conducted by OOCIC’s eight human trafficking and major crimes task forces. The task forces’ work was amplified by numerous local law enforcement agencies that also conducted anti-human trafficking operations.
As part of the statewide crackdown, the New Albany Police Department made 10 arrests for the sale of commercial sex, recovered two firearms, and will have multiple drug charges pending lab results.
“This latest operation is part of a proactive and shared effort to help victims of human trafficking,” said New Albany Police Chief Greg Jones. “Additionally, our goal is to offer aid and options to individuals involved in the dangerous work of prostitution and prosecute those who exploit them. The New Albany Police Department remains committed to working with the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to battle human exploitation at every level.”
Over the course of the week, 149 “johns” seeking to buy sex were arrested and charged with engaging in prostitution. Additional arrests included two individuals for seeking to have sex with minors and six for promoting prostitution. Others were arrested for illegally possessing narcotics and/or firearms, or because there were outstanding warrants against them.
Those arrested come from all backgrounds, including an EMT, nurses, educators, retirees, former law enforcement officers, self-employed individuals, delivery drivers, and others. The youngest john arrested was 17 and the oldest was 84.
Law enforcement officers interviewed 104 survivors of human trafficking, who were provided services from health care and social service organizations.
“Nearly 100 law enforcement agencies and service organizations participated in this operation – I am grateful for each and every partner who dedicated their time and resources, as we all play a key role in the fight against human trafficking,” Yost said. “Our message is simple: Don’t buy sex in Ohio!”