Dayton is now just the second city in Ohio with billboards publicizing the Ohio Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign. Though the program is state funded, money for the billboards had to be raised through donations.
The University of Dayton's acting director of human rights studies, Tony Talbott, says the goal isn't to shock people. "Once you're award that human trafficking is occurring, then you can take the next steps, look for the signs, and make the call to the national hotline or to local law enforcement to report it," says Talbott. "We can get ahead of this problem and actually end it in our lifetime."
Two billboards went up this week, a third will be added in August. Talbott wants to raise more donations for additional billboards.
"We all are associated with this crime. Our children, potentially, are at risk for being manipulated into becoming sex trafficking victims. We are surrounded by commercial sex, much of which is nonconsensual in spite of what it appears to be on the surface. Labor trafficking affects all of us as well through the services that we get and the products that we purchase."