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Ohio human trafficking sting sees more than 160 people arrested in ‘Operation Buyer’s Remorse’ as Attorney General Dave Yost issues message: ‘Don’t buy sex’


Ohio state has made more than 100 arrests of ‘Johns’ seeking to buy sex who have been charged with prostitution in a sting dubbed ‘Operation Buyer’s Remorse’. 

An EMT, nurses, educators, retirees, former law enforcement officers, self-employed individuals and delivery drivers are among those in custody. The youngest arrested is aged 17 and the oldest is 84. 

The operation was conducted by AG Yost’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC), taking place from September 25 to 30 across every corner of the state, including Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, Akron, Youngstown, Marietta and Portsmouth.

‘Operation Buyer’s Remorse’ comprised of coordinated ‘stings’ conducted by OOCIC’s eight human trafficking, major crimes task forces and nearly 100 local law enforcements that also conducted anti-human trafficking operations.

Searches were also conducted at 11 massage parlors suspected of human trafficking activities as part of ongoing, long-term investigations. 

In a video statement, Yost said: ‘Our message is simple: Don’t buy sex in Ohio!

Authorities were able to seize multiple electronic devices, criminal tools and nearly $75,000 from multiple locations

Authorities were able to seize multiple electronic devices, criminal tools and nearly $75,000 from multiple locations

Cops say 149 ‘Johns’ who were seeking to buy sex have been arrested and charged with engaging in prostitution. Two individuals were arrested 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. 

The charges on all of them vary from in severity from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. 

In a video statement, Yost said: ‘Our message is simple: Don’t buy sex in Ohio!

‘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.

‘Law enforcement across Ohio teamed up in a concerted effort to stem the demand that fuels human trafficking. 

‘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.’

Cops say 149 'Johns' who were seeking to buy sex have been arrested and charged with engaging in prostitution. Two individuals were arrested for seeking to have sex with minors and six for promoting prostitution

Cops say 149 ‘Johns’ who were seeking to buy sex have been arrested and charged with engaging in prostitution. Two individuals were arrested 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

Others were arrested for illegally possessing narcotics and/or firearms or because there were outstanding warrants against them

The charges on all of them vary from in severity from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony

The charges on all of them vary from in severity from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony

Officials said they believe the issue has been ongoing for a very long time but now they have the technology and resources to solve it.

Officials said they believe the issue has been ongoing for a very long time but now they have the technology and resources to solve it.

As a part of the investigation, officials also interviewed 104 survivors of human trafficking. Survivors were provided services from health care and social service organizations too. 

Authorities were able to seize multiple electronic devices, criminal tools and nearly $75,000 from multiple locations. 

The arrests included at least 27 people from Northeast Ohio as well as at least 20 people from another state or from outside the country. 

Noble County Sheriff Jason Mackie said he was very happy with the success of Operation Buyer’s Remorse.

‘The big thing is, we know people in our area do not support this. The people doing human trafficking think they can come to a rural area and get away with it easier. But we are prepared, we are well trained. And we won’t tolerate it.’

Officials said they believe the issue has been ongoing for a very long time but now they have the technology and resources to solve it. 



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