Authorities recently wrapped up a month-long human trafficking operation in Ohio that led to the arrest of 179 people and recovery of 109 missing people — including 45 children.
According to USA Today, “Operation Autumn Hope” became the largest human trafficking sting operation in Ohio history. Over 70 missing and exploited children’s cases were cleared. More than 50 organizations were part of the mission to end sex trafficking throughout the state.
“My thanks to all personnel who have stepped up for this operation,” Peter Tobin, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, said. He added, “I know ‘Operation Autumn Hope’ has made a difference in a lot of young lives.”
According to the attorney general’s office, the sting included four goals, including arresting males who were looking to buy sex, recovering missing and exploited kids, sending rescued victims of human trafficking to social services and apprehending those seeking to have sex with a minor.
“These vulnerable members of our population usually slip through the cracks,” Sgt. Dana Hess, director of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force, said in a statement. “This operation highlighted the vast number of potential victims and allowed law enforcement the opportunity to make contact and link them to services.”
One arrest made in the operation was 33-year-old Jarod Mills. He told authorities that he was a pastor and a Butler County Community College professor. He is now facing multiple felony charges, including importuning and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
“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,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. “Every agency on this team looks for the day when no person is bought and sold in Ohio. Don’t buy sex in Ohio!”