Human Trafficking

Often considered a form of modern slavery, human trafficking occurs when someone is sold for sex or labor, typically through coercion, fraud or force. It is the largest criminal enterprise in the world with a presence here in Stark County. Children, especially runaways, are at the greatest risk along with young people without close adult relationships and a history of truancy and/or substance use. Anyone can be affected by human trafficking. Often these violations are right in front of us – at nail salons, massage parlors, strip malls and sporting events – and we don’t recognize it.

Unfortunately, some of the things that make Stark County great also put us at risk. Our airport, interstate system, hotels, shopping centers and sports facilities are all popular destinations for human trafficking. To help combat this growing crime, it is important that we are all on the lookout for signs of human trafficking.

Report an emergency

If you witness or suspect sexual exploitation or another form of human trafficking, please report your concerns to local law enforcement right away.

Alliance Police Department

470 East Market St.
Alliance, OH 44601
Phone: (330) 821-9140
Dispatch: (330) 821-3131
Dispatch: (330) 821-3131
Emergency: 911
Emergency: 911

Canton Police Department

221 3rd St. SW
Canton, OH 44702
Non-emergency: (330) 649-5800
Non-emergency: (330) 649-5800
Information: (330) 489-3100
Information: (330) 489-3100
Dispatch: (330) 489-3100
Dispatch: (330) 489-3100
Emergency: 911
Emergency: 911

Jackson Township Police Department

7383 Fulton Dr. NW
Massillon, OH 44646
Phone: (330) 832-1553
Emergency: 911
Emergency: 911

Massillon Police Department

2 James Duncan Plz.
Massillon, OH 44646
Phone: (330) 832-9811
Emergency: 911
Emergency: 911

Perry Township Police Department

622 Genoa Ave. SW
Massillon, OH 44646
Phone: (330) 478-5121
Emergency: 911
Emergency: 911

Stark County Sherriff’s Office

Serving Stark County and Waynesburg.
4500 Atlantic Blvd. NE
Canton, OH 44705
Phone: (330) 430-3800
Emergency: 911
Emergency: 911
Signs of human trafficking

Often considered a “hidden crime,” human trafficking is a complex problem without many physical signs. To help prevent and put an end to the human violations, it is important for everyone in the community to keep an eye out, raise awareness and report suspicions. The following are some of the most common signs of human trafficking, but this is not a comprehensive list. If another red flag gives you cause for concern, don’t hesitate to submit a tip.

An individual might be a victim of human trafficking if they:

  • Are not permitted to speak for themselves
  • Have frequent trips to the emergency department
  • Appear brutally beaten with physical injuries, such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, genital tears or bite marks
  • Are not free to come and go as they please
  • Avoid eye contact and seem nervous, paranoid and submissive
  • Do not have an ID, passport, bank account or other personal information
  • Entered their line of work through coercion, false promises or physical force
  • Give vague answers about where they live and who they spend time with
  • Go to work each day in dangerous, unfit conditions
  • Have had multiple pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at a young age
  • Have unusual tattoos of logos or barcodes, sometimes with misspelled words
  • Lie and cover up false stories
  • Receive little to no pay for their work
  • Show signs of torture, abuse and forced restraint
  • Work in the commercial sex industry with a “boyfriend”, “pimp” or “daddy”
  • Are buried in large debts they can’t pay off
  • Are expected to work long hours without breaks
  • Appear malnourished or in a bad medical state

References

Human trafficking resources

Children’s Network of Stark County

Helping to investigate and prosecute crimes against children.
213 Market Ave. N
Suite 200
Canton, OH 44702
Phone: (330) 451-1700

COMPASS Rape Crisis

24/7 Confidential Hotline: 330-452-1111 Mental health, counseling, and case management services for all survivors of rape and sexual assault Confidential Hotline Hospital Advocacy Justice System Advocacy
408 9th St. SW
Canton, OH 44707
24/7 Phone: (330) 452-1111
24/7 Phone: (330) 452-1111
Hours: 24/7

Hannah’s House 119

Mentoring for victims of human trafficking as well as young people at risk.
213 Nassau St.
East Canton, OH 44730
Phone: (330) 495-2970

HAVEN Program

Provides medical forensic nursing care to individuals impacted by violence, elder abuse and neglect, domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault. Visit the website for more information.
1320 Mercy Dr. NW
Canton, OH 44708
Phone: (330) 489-1000, ext. 2170

Not For Sale Ohio

Not For Sale is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing human trafficking and providing education to bring awareness to this modern-day tragedy.
P.O. Box 2344
North Canton, OH 44720

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Report emergencies and cases of unsafe working conditions, health or safety violations.
Essex Place, 6393 Oak Tree Blvd.
Suite 203
Independence, OH 44131
Phone: (216) 447-4194

Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force

Working to identify victims, prosecute human trafficking crimes and provide support to human trafficking survivors. Visit online to learn more.

Partners Against Trafficking of Humans Stark County

Volunteers working together to raise awareness, education and advocacy to protect and serve local victims of human trafficking. Learn more on Facebook.
800 Market Ave. N
Suite 1150
Canton, OH 44702

RAHAB Ministries

RAHAB is a faith-based ministry devoted to rescuing & restoring victims trafficked into sexual slavery & exploitation in NE Ohio. Drop-In Centers
  • Canton (914 Sandal Place NE, Canton, OH 44703)
  • North Canton (4350 Portage St., North Canton, OH 44720)
914 Sandal Place NE
Canton, OH 44703
Phone: 330-388-5286
Survivors of human trafficking

A survivor of human trafficking will face a long and complex journey to recovery. They often need specialized clinical treatment, as well as trauma-informed mental and emotional care. Survivors who were trafficked as children will likely have missed years of education and require job and life skills training. Some may also need prenatal care or childcare support. Find local resources in the section above to support these survivors, keep them safe and reaffirm their worth.

Human Trafficking Survivors Open Up About Horrors

First-hand accounts of human trafficking compiled by the Huffington Post.

Equality Now Trafficking Survivor Stories

Hear from people around the world about their experiences with human trafficking.

Human Trafficking Victim Shares Her Story

In this article from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, one woman tells her powerful story of sexual exploitation, rescue and recovery.

Helpful links

Forced Labor, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking 

Statistics, news and resources collected by the International Labor Organization.

Human Trafficking Task Force Outreach Toolkit

Resources to support service providers and law enforcement as they help to combat human trafficking.

Labor Trafficking Guide

Overview, statistics and resources from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

National Human Trafficking Hotline Resources

Learn the basics about human trafficking, find referral sources and download helpful education guides.

Not For Sale

Learn about the causes of modern slavery and how to get involved to help prevent human trafficking.

Polaris Project

Resources, legislation and information to help end human trafficking and support victims as they reclaim their freedom.

Sex Trafficking

Overview, statistics and resources from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Stark County Family Court

Supporting the rights of young people who have been affected by child labor, sexual exploitation or another form of human trafficking.

What to do if you have been assaulted

According to Mercy Medical Center, you should follow these steps to ensure you get the care you need after an assault:

  • Contact HAVEN for immediate medical attention from the Mercy Emergency Department.
  • Get to a safe space as soon as possible.
  • In cases of sexual assault, try to avoid changing your clothes, bathing or brushing your teeth.
  • Reach out for support from a trusted adult.
  • Remember you have options.
  • Request a medical forensic evaluation to address concerns related to the assault (even if you do not have any obvious injuries).
What to expect during your emergency visit

You can expect the following when you seek treatment through the HAVEN program at Mercy Medical Center:

  • You will be moved to a private waiting room or medical treatment area as soon as possible.
  • A doctor will perform an evaluation and provide treatment for any physical injuries.
  • Evidence may be collected, including clothing, hair, blood, urine or other samples at no additional charge.
  • Examiners will provide information about your care options and recommendations for safety planning.
  • Medical staff will offer any medications or vaccinations needed, which may include prophylactic medications for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and HIV.
  • Members of the clinical team will help you complete a Victim of Crime Compensation application.
  • The nursing staff will talk to you about your rights as a victim of crime and connect you with local social service providers.