Ohio has just taken down the largest child sex trafficking ring in history, the state's Attorney General Dave Yost has announced.
“Operation Ohio Knows” is a joint task force combining the efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, along with social service partners.
AG Yost announced the results of the huge operation, revealing that 161 arrests were made during raids that also rescued ten children.
Most of those arrested were caught trying to rape sex-trafficked children, Yost confirmed.
It was the largest human trafficking bust in Ohio’s history, according to Yost.
Among those arrested were a Democrat politician and several wealthy elites, the attorney general revealed.
"The suspects arrested include a home improvement contractor, a city council member from Elyria identified by Elyria police as Mark Jessie, 64; a firefighter, a teacher, a professor, and even a pilot, making over $200,000 a year, who haggled the price down to $15," Fox 8 reported Monday.
"Another suspect was arrested with a 2-year-old in the car,” the article read.
According to Elyria City Council President Vic Stewart, Jessie was the incumbent Democrat Ward 3 councilman on the ballot for the November election.
"It’s disheartening,” Stewart commented.
"We don’t condone that in Elyria City Council.
"We don’t condone Jessie’s actions.
"He will have his day in court and we will go from there."
Yost said during a press conference that for the first time in the state, a statute was enacted making it a more serious crime to buy sex than sell it because the “John” was in it for the money, noting if there were no buyers, trafficking would not exist.
“Reducing the demand means that we reduce the number of people who are victimized by human trafficking,” he explained, adding:
“The survivor does not tell you, ‘I don’t really want to do this but if I don’t I’m going to be beaten,’ or ‘If I don’t he’s going to withhold my drugs and I’ll go into withdrawal and I can’t deal with that.'”
“People who traffic other humans are doing it for a really simple reason — money. And if there’s no demand then there will be no market,” Yost said “Reducing the demand means we reduce the number of people who are victimized by human trafficking." pic.twitter.com/vj1E5kdVk8
Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said the operation also recovered 10 missing children, and officials were working with courts, schools, health care facilities, and additional community partners across the state to address the issue.
Meanwhile, Columbus Police Officer Dana Hess thanked those who participated in the recent operation.
“Ohio knows what’s going on in our state,”Hess stated.
"Ohio knows what’s going on in our country and Ohio knows what’s going on in our world.
“So if you’re buying sex from another human being or sexually exploiting another human being for your own personal gain, you better watch out because Ohio knows and we are coming after you,” the officer concluded.