177 arrested in largest human trafficking sting in Ohio history

Cincinnati Enquirer | Cameron Knight

They called it Operation Autumn Hope, and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said it resulted in 177 arrests and 109 human trafficking survivors being rescued.

The results of the collaboration between more than 50 of law enforcement and social service agencies was announced Monday.

Yost quoted Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus to emphasize the importance of this work, which he called the largest operation of its kind in the history of Ohio.

“A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” he said. “What you do to least of these, you’ve done it to me.”

During the operation, the U.S. Marshals clear 76 missing and exploited children cases. Of those, 45 children were physically recovered while others were found to have returned home on their own.

The majority of the arrests occurred in the Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus areas. In the three counties where those cities reside, 157 arrests were made.

“The success of Operation Autumn Hope is measured not only in the number of arrests but in the lives that were rescued from this evil,” Yost said. “Every agency on this team looks for the day when no person is bought and sold in Ohio. Don’t buy sex in Ohio!”

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