Dem lawmakers introduce bill to take on human trafficking and forced prostitution
COLUMBUS — Reps. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today introduced legislation that would establish a grant program to help local courts address issues of human trafficking and forced prostitution. The programs aim to help victims of sexual exploitation break free and to educate johns on the harm forced prostitution has on victims and society.
“Increasing penalties just has not worked,” said Rep. Miller. “Innovative programs like CATCH Courts and johns schools work to cure the disease; not just treat the symptoms. While not perfect yet, these programs have changed lives for the better.”
“Ohio needs legislation that will offer an expansion of specialty courts which will help eradicate human trafficking,” said Rep. Galonski. “I witnessed the success that is possible during my work at the Summit County Juvenile Court and after visiting a CATCH Court in Columbus.”
The grant program would be administered by the Ohio Attorney General and fund efforts aimed at taking on human trafficking by supporting CATCH courts and Johns Schools throughout Ohio. The innovative programs aim to address fundamental causes of sexual exploitation and forced prostitution.
CATCH Court: Changing Actions to Change Habits is human trafficking specialized docket with the Franklin County Municipal Court. This docket includes an integrated approach to meet the treatment, health, and behavioral needs of defendants who have been charged with prostitution, solicitation, loitering to solicit, or other offenses if the defendant has a history of being a victim of human trafficking. CATCH is a non-adversarial rather than an exclusively punitive approach. Only three other counties, Summit, Cuyahoga, and Hamilton, have similar programs.
John Schools: “John schools” are programs for men arrested for buying sex. The program focuses on education and can include therapeutic treatments. The goal of john schools are to present options for sanctioning and educating offenders in order to prevent recidivism. Education also includes awareness of the impact forced prostitution can have on victims, the johns, and the community. Graduates can also serve as amplifiers to prevent others from engaging in human trafficking. John schools in Ohio include Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo.