The Link Between Human Trafficking and Substances


Wayne County Coalitions

Wooster— January highlighted Human Trafficking Awareness, reminding us how much goes on here in Wayne County right under our noses. Last year, Ohio ranked 9th in the U.S. for the most new human trafficking cases (The Human Trafficking Institute). Surprisingly, many trafficking cases involve family members or foster care families profiting off of their own children, forcing them to exchange sex acts or labor for cash, supplies, services, or substances. In one year, Ohio saw 1,475 victims of human trafficking (Ohio Governor’s Human Trafficking Task Force, 2017), not including unreported cases.

As you may have guessed, a link exists between human trafficking and substance abuse, as many traffickers use drugs to control and manipulate their victims. Children whose family members misuse substances are at a much higher risk for trafficking. On average, a child is most likely to be initially trafficked between 11 and 13 years old. The use of substances in trafficking causes some victims to develop Substance Use Disorders, and since their abuser provides them with the substances they need to survive, it keeps them dependent on him or her.

Coalitions, agencies, and individuals across the U.S. are standing up against such horrific violence and exploitation. According to Jeanne Allert of The Samaritan Women, they fight to end not only trafficking but also the trauma that started the trajectory in the first place.

Want to join the fight against human trafficking? Reach out to the Wayne County Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition, or WATCh. You can find them on Facebook.

For more information, contact:

Kristie Skaggs

Submitted on behalf of:

Turning Point Coalition of Orrville

CIRCLE Coalition of Wooster

Rittman SALT Coalition

Norwayne SALT Coalition

Chippewa Cares Coalition