CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Human trafficking cases reported to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline soared 25 percent last year.
Ohio ranks fourth in the nation for reported human trafficking cases.
Newly released data from Polaris Project shows thousands of survivors across the country are reaching out for help.
By the numbers
Nearly 11,000 cases of human trafficking were reported to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2018, the highest amount since the hotline started in 2007.
The majority of those were sex trafficking cases, 7,859.
There were 1,249 cases of labor trafficking nationwide.
Here in Ohio, about 8,000 trafficking survivors contacted the national hotline in 2018.
There were 443 trafficking cases in the state and 349 of those were sex trafficking cases.
In 2017, there were 377 cases reported to the hotline.
Advocates caution sometimes a big increase in calls doesn’t necessarily mean an uptick in trafficking, it can mean there is more awareness of resources out there to help.
We checked locally with the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Project STAR hotline.
They received about 200 calls in 2017 and 2018.
But so far from January to June of 2019, they have already had 160 calls, so they are seeing an increase.
The Project STAR (Sex Trafficking Advocacy and Recovery) Hotline also provides comprehensive healing services for survivors, like victim assistance and counseling, as well as professional training.
Survivors can call, chat or text the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline in English and Spanish at 1-888-373-7888.
You can call our local hotline, Project STAR, 24 hours a day at 855-431-STAR (7827).