University of Dayton students working with Abolition Ohio at the UD Human Rights Center will testify on behalf of two bills Nov. 16 at the Statehouse in Ohio that will help victims of human trafficking human beings to get back on their feet.
“Victims of human trafficking are often coerced by their traffickers into prostitution, solicitation and a wide range of other crimes through no fault of their own. Convictions for these crimes prevent victims of human trafficking rights to obtain housing, employment, or professional accreditation. Current Ohio law removes these offenses, but only if the victim has one of the very limited prerequisites. What Ohio SB 183 and HB 319 will do is remove those prerequisites so that more victims and survivors can qualify to have their records expunged,” said Tony Talbott, director of Abolition Ohio and director of advocacy at the UD Human Rights Center.
Expungement goes further than sealing a case because sealed cases cannot be destroyed and there is always a chance they can be reopened, Talbott added. He went on to say that these bills will also expand protections for victims of labor trafficking who may be coerced into drug trafficking or theft.
Representatives from Abolition Ohio will join representatives from the Cincinnati-based Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, End Slavery Cincinnati and other anti-trafficking coalitions in the state to testify Wednesday morning. They and lawmakers sponsoring the legislation will hold a press conference at 8:30 a.m. in Grant Courtroom 110 at the Ohio Statehouse.
Although very early in the legislative process, Talbott hopes the group’s testimony will help bills make their way out of committees and garner more bipartisan support.
Talbott, Abolition Ohio, and the UD Human Rights Center have long been committed to the fight against human trafficking.
The University of Toledo’s Institute of Human Trafficking and Social Justice honored Talbott with its 2020 Human Rights and Social Justice Champion Award. Abolition Ohio leads the outreach program to Human Trafficking (STOP) in local schools to help students identify and avoid signs of human trafficking. Talbott was also part of a UD group that helped lobby on behalf of an Ohio bill to make human trafficking a crime and researched and wrote a report on the disruption of human trafficking in illicit massage businesses in Ohio.
For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at [email protected] To connect with Talbott on Wednesday, November 16, call or text him at 937-545-9623.