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New Course Required For Stylists to Help Spot Trafficking Victims

Alison Alhamed | March 5, 2015 | 11:24 AM
Ohio licensed cosmetologists now need to take a course on identifying trafficked women and girls.

A new law in Ohio requires licensed cosmetologists to take a course on identifying trafficked women and girls (a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others). Why Ohio? Because of the major highway systems, eight ports on Lake Erie, and proximity to Canada, more than an estimated 1,000 juveniles are trafficked annually in Ohio.

"The focus on beauty salons in the result of a report by the state's Human Trafficking Task Force, which identified salons as prime locations to spot victims who may have been brought in by pimps to change their appearance or to win their trust with pampering," as reported in the March issue of Marie Claire magazine. Stylists will be taught to be on alert for clients who seem fearful, submissive, who don't seem to have control of their money or possessions, who have scripted or rehearsed answers to questions, or who are with someone who answers on their behalf.

Criminals who are involved in trafficking other human beings prey upon those already at risk in our society, often children. In fact, a preliminary report on the scope of the problem in Ohio cited 13 years old as the most common age in Ohio for youth to become victims of child sex trafficking. From the study's sample of 207 individuals, 49 percent were under 18 when they were first trafficked. Nationally, over 100,000 children are thought to be involved in the sex trade.

Marie Claire's report continues that the law was also designed to crack down on domestic servitude, which occurs when someone is brought to the U.S. on the promise of a paying job, only to be forced to work for free--a common occurance at nail salons where foreign workers may not know their rights or the language.

Ohio's Attorney General website offers additional information for spotting potential victims and how to take action.

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