Mary Alice Reporting – Every year a festival is held in Canton and local officials remind people of the dark reality of human trafficking.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement is from August 1st through the 4th.

Tusc Against Human Trafficking representative MacKrea Larue notes major events, sports or conferences, create an increased demand for trafficking.

“Statistically speaking, any event that draws in a large number of wealthy, middle aged men skyrockets human trafficking incidents. With the Football Hall of Fame, there’s a lot of sex related injuries that come into the hospital. That’s a pretty big indicator that human trafficking is going on in some form.”

While the Stark County Trafficking Coalition raises awareness, Larue says that, in Tuscarawas, they have made an effort to instruct hotels on warning signs.

“Hotels fill up so we do see some [overflow] especially in the north part of the county of people who are here for the Hall of Fame, so we try to educate hotel staff of the red flags of human trafficking and what to do if you do see something, say something type of situation.”

The force, fraud, or coercion of an individual is prevalent in Ohio with 60% of the United States an eight to ten hour drive from the state. Ohio is also a hub regarding flight transportation since the state has four international airports.

From 2014 to 2018, the Ohio Children’s Advocacy Centers served almost 400 youth trafficking victims.

Earlier this week, the sex trade was investigated by multiple agencies with warrants executed at 16 massage parlors including one in Wooster and Kent, both short driving distances from the Akron/Canton area.

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