Human sex trafficking still a problem in Toledo

February 13, 2013 in Local News, News, Top Stories

By Journal Staff

From left: Mary Schmidbauer, program director at Toledo Area Ministries Second Chance, was guest speaker; Sue Fletcher, first lady of New Light; Tequila Williams, vice president of Women’s Ministries; and Latrina Stewart, president of Women’s Ministries.

New Light Missionary Baptist Church, 1741 Cone, hosted a forum Saturday, Feb. 2, on human sex trafficking in Toledo.

Latrina Stewart, president of Women’s Ministries, said the purpose of the event was to show that human sex trafficking is still a problem in Toledo. She said her group wants to help the young people so that they don’t get snarled up with the human trafficking perpetrators.

Abuse plays a big part of teens involved in human trafficking, she said.The perpetrators manipulate their victims.

“We want them to know there are people out here who care and want to make a difference in their lives.”

Tequila Williams, vice president of Women’s Ministries, who said she’s a domestic violence victim, indicated it’s not always physical. It can be verbal and emotional, she said.

“It affects the children,” Williams said.

Mary Schmidbauer, program director at Toledo Area Ministries Second Chance, delivered the message. Last year, human sex trafficking netted the perpetrators $32 billion. It’s also the second fastest growing crime.

Toledo is a hub for the crimes and is ranked fourth in the nation, she said. There are more than 12.5 millions human trafficking slaves in bondage in the United States.

Toledo is a big recruitment ground because of its easy access to interstate highways, air, rail and with truckers, Schmidbauer said. It’s also a connecting community to other cities.

“It’s a difficult situation,” she said.

Schmidbauer said Second Chance is helping sex trafficking victims to lead normal lives. It’s providing case management to the victims and referring them to counselors to work on the trauma.

“The critical thing in recognizing that trauma creates problems for families,” she said.