Ever been on a road trip or stopped at a gas station along a major highway, and seen one of those signs in the restroom, offering help if you’re a human trafficking victim? Those signs are there for a reason; the human trafficking industry traffics women, children, and even men all over our country. Despite this terrible reality, there are stories of hope, like the one where an Ohio State Patrol officer made a routine traffic stop and rescued a human trafficking victim on the spot.
A Routine Traffic Stop
Mitch Ross was that state patrol officer who was working a normal day, stopping drivers who were speeding along highway I-80 in Lucas County, Ohio, where he was positioned. One particular driver failed to move over; so Ross turned on the sirens and pulled him over on what he saw as a routine traffic stop. Ross planned to give the driver the citation, “failure to move,” when he noticed some strange things about the 35-year-old male driver and his young female passenger. Neither the male nor the female spoke English, and neither had any form of identification to show Ross.
Ross knew he needed to learn more about this driver and his young female passenger; so he called a translator to help. And it’s a good thing he did…
A Human Trafficking Victim Saved
The translator from OSHP, Sergent Nunez, and officer isolated the male driver from his passenger and learned that the girl was 15 years old. Once safely away from the man, the girl explained that she had been forced by the man “to perform acts” on him and that she was a victim of sex trafficking. They found that she had been missing from New Jersey and that he was taking her to Chicago.
Upon learning this information, the officers promptly transferred her to a medical environment, where she could receive the care that she needed. They contacted her family so she could reunited with them. As for her abductor, they arrested him, and he was taken to the Lucas County jail to face charges for abduction in both Ohio and New Jersey.
TiffinOhio.net shared the dash cam and an interview of officers discussing the case. In the video, officers explained their process for investigating the case. One officer said, “When you look at the bigger picture and you see what could’ve happened and what our investigation showed that probably would happen if we didn’t interfere…I mean it gives you a great sense of satisfaction, you know, because it does come down to, every single life matters.”
One of Many Stories
The good and the bad news: this is just one of many stories of human trafficking victims being rescued by officers on a routine traffic stop and other traffic stops where they noticed something suspicious. Do a quick google search, and you’ll find stories from across the country. just four months ago, two Idaho State troopers were honored for saving a young boy who was a human trafficking victim, after they stopped and arrested a man who had an outstanding arrest. The driver tried to say the boy was his son, when in reality, the boy was a victim of labor trafficking.