The Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 235 which makes human trafficking a felony offense.
"The passage of SB 235 will help strengthen Ohio laws and improve the ability of law enforcement and prosecutors to punish those who commit this abhorrent crime," State Senator Tim Grendell said.
Police say human trafficking is the second largest organized crime in the country and Ohio is a hotbed of this activity, in part, because of its proximity to the Canadian border. Police say this makes it possible for victims to be moved through Michigan and be trafficked in various cities in Ohio, including Cleveland.
In June, the Investigator Tom Meyer accompanied undercover detectives on a sting, looking for children as young as 12 who have been turned into sex slaves.
A state study found at least 1,000 children a year are picked up off the streets and trafficked as sex slaves.
SB 235 now moves to the Ohio House where lawmakers are also expected to approve it.