Ohio State Bar Foundation to highlight alarming rate of foster youth who fall prey to human traffickers

October 13, 2020

The Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF) is launching a virtual symposium, On the Margin: Foster Youth at Risk for Human Trafficking, on October 20 at 4:00 PM.

Alongside the OSBF’s 2019 Fellows Class, a group of Ohio attorneys who have joined the organization to help further its mission through volunteering efforts and monetary contributions, the Foundation created this virtual educational symposium to highlight the alarming number of Ohio kids in foster care who fall victim to human traffickers. Attendees will hear from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, human trafficking survivors, and experts who are fighting to address this concerning issue. Discussions will be led by Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown and will focus on education and, more importantly, action.

“Many are unaware that human trafficking is a profound problem in Ohio. It is a modern-day form of slavery dramatically affecting the lives of so many in Ohio,” said OSBF President Mark Kitrick. “Because it is so well disguised and deceptive, the public and many in the legal community, are not aware of the extent of this crisis. Through this incredibly illuminating symposium, we will teach all participants about the formidable scope of this issue, show how anyone can identify human trafficking activity, and then arm them with how we can fight it and passionately work to end human trafficking in our lifetime.”

To register for the symposium, visit OSBF.org/Symposium.

The virtual symposium will open with an important message from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. The program will then continue with people from the front lines, including two survivors of human trafficking who talk about the world they were trapped in. The conversation also will include an agent from Homeland Security Investigations, a children service’s anti-human trafficking coordinator, and a judge who has created a court that looks to help, rather than punish, human trafficking survivors often prosecuted for prostitution and other acts committed under the duress of their traffickers. Participants will talk about existing services in Ohio that help foster youth and combat human trafficking, commenting on what has worked, what has failed, and what members of the public can do to help.

The program participants are:

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost
In 2011, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost became Ohio Auditor of State and directed investigations that aided in the convictions of 170 corrupt public officials. After two terms as Auditor of State, he was elected Ohio Attorney General in 2018, assuming office on January 14, 2019.

As Attorney General, Yost has prioritized fighting the opioid crisis and human trafficking. He has launched scientific initiatives to curb the number of Ohioans succumbing to substance use disorder and also has increased human trafficking enforcement, while pushing for legislation that will allow more effective prosecutions of buyers and sellers in trafficking transactions.

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown, Moderator
Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice McGee Brown was appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court by then Ohio Governor Ted Strickland in December 2010 to fill the seat vacated by Justice Maureen O’Connor, when voters elected her Chief Justice. Former Supreme Court Justice McGee Brown assumed the office on January 1, 2011 as the first African-American woman to serve as a justice on the state’s highest court. After joining the court, she became chair of an interagency taskforce focused on improving the educational outcomes for children in foster care.

After leaving the Supreme Court, Former Justice McGee Brown joined the Columbus office of Jones Day as a partner practicing business and tort litigation. She also currently serves on the board as a director for Encova Insurance.

Jason Beever
In 2001, Jason Beever was hired as a U.S. Customs Special Agent in Detroit, Michigan, before transitioning in 2003 to the newly created Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). As an HSI special agent, he has worked on numerous investigations, including child exploitation. In 2012, Agent Beever came to Columbus. Leading a team of approximately 20 agents, he and his team investigate national security threats, human trafficking, child exploitation, narcotics trafficking, financial crimes, and other violations of federal law in Central Ohio.

Hollie Daniels
Hollie Daniels is a five-year survivor of human trafficking. She is a co-founder of Reaching for the Shining Starz, a nonprofit organization that provides resources to women caught in addiction, homelessness, and sex trafficking on the streets of Columbus.

Bhumika Patel
Since 2018, Bhumika Patel has been working at the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO) as its anti-human trafficking coordinator. In this role, she provides training and technical assistance to those working with trafficked children involved in child welfare and juvenile justice.

Stephanie Rollins
Stephanie Rollins is a thirty-year survivor of human trafficking. She attributes her success to her graduation from CATCH Court in 2015 and from the Amethyst Program in 2017. Rollins now serves as the Prevention Education Coordinator at Gracehaven.

Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio
Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio has been serving as a judge for the Summit County Juvenile Court since her election in 2003. She is recognized for her innovative programming and progressive approach to juvenile dispositions and rehabilitation. In the Summit County Juvenile Court, she has developed Restore Court, a program that addresses youth who become court-involved, but who have been identified as victims of human trafficking. Judge Teodosio also is president of the Ohio State Bar Association.

“We are excited to bring this much-needed discussion to the public,” said OSBF Executive Director Lori Keating. “Many people do not realize the extent of the human trafficking crisis in Ohio, as it is often hidden from plain view. This event is open to the public and there is no cost to attend. Registrants already include social workers, members of law enforcement, lawyers, medical professionals, as well as citizens who may not yet know much about human trafficking but want to learn more about what to look out for and how they can join in the fight.”

The event also will recognize organizations that are on the frontlines working with survivors of human trafficking, kids, and the community. Advocating Opportunity, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Franklin County, and the Ohio Justice and Policy Center will be represented and be the recipients of donations and sponsorship dollars given before, during, and after the symposium. The funds will be used by the three organizations to help further their important work in our state.

“We are excited to see organizations and people from across Ohio give generously to support this cause. The OSBF has made an important commitment to ensure that 100% of this financial support will go to the three nonprofits selected as the beneficiaries,” said David Alexander, a 2019 Fellow and partner at the law firm Squire, Patton, Boggs. “We are grateful to all of our financial supporters, especially our legacy sponsors, the Chlapaty Family Charities, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and the Ohio State Bar Association. We also are thankful for all sponsors and donors whose support will surely make a difference in the lives of foster youth and victims of human trafficking.”

To register to attend the symposium, visit OSBF.org/Symposium. The event is open to the public, and there is no cost to attend. After the event, a recording of the conversation will be available at OSBF.org/Symposium and on the OSBF’s YouTube page.

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