Responding to Child Victims of Human Trafficking - Ohio

Date: December 2018

State Agency Responsibilities

Citation: Admin. Code § 5101:2-36-05

A public children's services agency (PCSA) shall conduct a stranger-danger investigation in response to a child abuse report alleging a criminal act against a child of assault or sexual activity, as defined under chapter 2907 of the Revised Code, if the alleged perpetrator was unknown to the alleged child victim and the alleged child victim's family prior to the incident(s). The PCSA shall refer the report to the appropriate law enforcement authority within 24 hours of the time the report was screened in, unless the report was received from the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction.

The PCSA shall initiate the stranger-danger report in accordance with the following:

  • For an emergency report, PCSA shall attempt a face-to-face contact with the alleged child victim within 1 hour from the time the referral was screened in, to assess child safety and interview the alleged child victim.
  • For all other reports, the PCSA shall attempt a face-to-face contact or complete a telephone contact within 24 hours from the time the referral was screened in, with a principal of the report or collateral source who has knowledge of the alleged child victim's current condition and can provide current information about the child's safety.
  • If face-to-face contact with the alleged child victim was not attempted within the 24-hour timeframe, an attempt of face-to-face contact with the alleged child victim shall be made within 72 hours from the time the report was screened in to assess child safety and interview the alleged child victim.

The PCSA shall not interview the alleged child victim or his or her siblings without parental consent, unless one of the following exigent circumstances exists:

  • There is credible information indicating the child is in immediate danger of serious harm.
  • There is credible information indicating that the child will be in immediate danger of serious harm upon return home from school or other locations away from his or her home.
  • There is credible information indicating that the child may be intimidated from discussing the alleged abuse in his or her home.
  • The child requests to be interviewed at school or another location due to one of the circumstances listed in this paragraph.

The PCSA shall take any other actions necessary to assess safety and risk to the child. These actions may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Taking photographs of areas of trauma on the child's body
  • Taking photographs of the child's environment with the parent, guardian, or custodian's consent
  • Attempting to secure a medical examination or psychological evaluation of the child, with consent of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian or with a court order
  • Attempting to secure any relevant records, including, but not limited to, school, mental health, and medical records

If the PCSA determines supportive services are necessary, the supportive services shall be made available to the child and his or her parent, guardian, or custodian during the safety-planning process and the assessment/investigation process.

Training Requirement

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 109.745; 3319.073; 4743.07; Admin. Code § 5101:2-33-55

The attorney general shall provide training for peace officers in investigating and handling violations of § 2905.32 (involuntary servitude). The training shall include all of the following:

  • Identifying violations of § 2905.32
  • Methods used in identifying victims of violations of § 2905.32 who are citizens of the United States or a foreign country, including preliminary interviewing techniques and appropriate questioning methods
  • Methods for prosecuting persons who violate § 2905.32
  • Methods of increasing effective collaboration with nongovernmental organizations and other social service organizations in the course of a criminal action regarding a violation of § 2905.32
  • Methods for protecting the rights of victims of violations of § 2905.32, including the need to consider human rights and the special needs of women and children who are victims of violations of that section and to treat victims as victims rather than as criminals
  • Methods for promoting the safety of victims of violations of § 2905.32, including the training of peace officers to quickly recognize victims of a violation of any of those sections who are citizens of the United States or citizens of a foreign country

The board of education of each city shall adopt or adapt the curriculum developed by the Department of Education for a program of inservice training in the prevention of child abuse, violence, and substance abuse and the promotion of positive youth development. Each person employed by any school district or service center to work in a school as a nurse, teacher, counselor, school psychologist, or administrator shall complete at least 4 hours of the inservice training within 2 years of commencing employment with the district and every 5 years thereafter. Each board shall incorporate training in school safety and violence prevention, including human trafficking content, into the inservice training required by this section.

The general assembly strongly recommends that every board, commission, or agency that is created under or by virtue of title 47 (Occupations and Professions) and that is authorized to grant licensure or certification to persons who may encounter human trafficking victims in the normal course of their work promulgate rules pursuant to chapter 119 to require those persons, as a condition of receiving or maintaining licensure or certification, to receive training in the recognition and handling of human trafficking cases.

In regulation: A PCSA caseworker shall complete an introductory course in human trafficking within 2 years of the date of hire. Training shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:

  • Laws governing human trafficking, including all of the following:
    • The definition of human trafficking under § 2929.01
    • Mandates of court, law enforcement, and other organizations working to bring attention to the problem of human trafficking
    • The criminal offense of trafficking in persons under § 2905.32
  • The dynamics of human trafficking and its effects on the victims
  • Recognizing human trafficking
  • The provision of resources to identify and assess victims of human trafficking
  • Working with community resource providers in the area of human trafficking

Diversion From Prosecution

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Services and Supports for Victims

Citation: Admin. Code § 5101:2-40-02

Supportive services shall be made available by PCSA to the child, his or her parent, guardian, or custodian through one or more of the following:

  • Information and referral services to community resources
  • Direct services from the PCSA
  • Contract services from community service providers
  • Direct and indirect services from child abuse and neglect multidisciplinary teams

The PCSA may provide any of the mandated services identified in this paragraph directly, or may arrange service delivery with a community services provider:

  • Case management services, activities performed by the PCSA, private child-placing agency (PCPA), private noncustodial agency (PNA), or title IV-E agency for the purpose of providing, recording, and supervising services to a child and his or her parent, guardian, custodian, caregiver, or substitute caregiver
  • Counseling services, which may include one or both of the following:
    • General counseling services performed by a PCSA or shelter for victims of domestic violence to assist a child, a child's parents, and a child's sibling in alleviating identified problems causing or that may cause the child to be an abused, neglected, or dependent child
    • Psychiatric or psychological therapeutic counseling services provided to correct or alleviate any mental or emotional illness or disorder and performed by a licensed psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, or person licensed to engage in social work or professional counseling
    • Diagnostic services, which are medical, psychiatric, or psychological services performed by a licensed physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed professional counselor with clinical endorsement, or a licensed independent social worker for the purpose of evaluating an individual's current physical, emotional, or mental condition.
  • Emergency shelter, the short-term crisis placement of any child threatened or alleged to be abused, neglected, or dependent to an extent there is imminent risk to the child's life, physical or mental health, or safety
  • Substitute care, which is the care provided for a child apart from his or her parent or guardian while the child's custody is held by a PCSA or PCPA
  • Therapeutic services, which includes medical, psychiatric, or psychological services performed by licensed or certified physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, professional counselors, or independent social workers for the purpose of correcting or alleviating physical, mental, or emotional illnesses or disorders

Support for Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Citation: Rev. Code § 5101.87

There is created in the State treasury the Victims of Human Trafficking Fund consisting of money seized in connection with a violation of human trafficking laws; money acquired from the sale of personal effects, tools, or other property seized because the personal effects, tools, or other property were used in the commission of a violation of human trafficking laws; or money derived from the proceeds of the commission of a violation of human trafficking laws and deposited pursuant to § 2981.12 and such other money as may be appropriated or contributed to the fund. Money in the fund shall be used for the sole purpose of treating, caring for, rehabilitating, educating, housing, and providing assistance for victims of trafficking in persons. The director of the Department of Job and Family Services shall administer the fund.