'Modern-Day Slavery Exists All Around Us'; Feds to Target Sex Trafficking in Cleveland

The Northern District of Ohio was selected as one of six federal districts to participate in the Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team Initiative. More effective prosecution is the goal here, with this new team "streamlining the investigation" of federal human trafficking offenses.

In short, the program will provide a broader and deeper range of resources — collaborations across multiple area agencies — to investigate cases of "forced labor, international sex trafficking, and sex trafficking of adults by force, fraud, and coercion, complementing Project Safe Childhood and related efforts aimed at combating child sexual exploitation, including child sex trafficking."

“The cases we have prosecuted remind us time and again that labor trafficking and sex trafficking hide in plain sight," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said yesterday. 

Just this very week, Dettelbach indicted a Cleveland man for pimping out at least two underage girls in a long-running scheme of extortion, sexual abuse and threats of violence.

In 2013, Scene reported on a case out of Ashland that involved a couple abusing a developmentally impaired woman and her toddler, who had been "forced to live at [Jordie] Callahan and [Jessica] Hunt's home and perform various chores and tasks for nearly two years." After their conviction, Callahan is serving 30 years in prison, and Hunt is serving 32 years in prison for their crimes.

"We are yet again reminded that modern-day slavery exists all around us," Dettelbach said at the time.
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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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