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History of Abolition Ohio

Abolition Ohio was founded in March 2010 and we held our first public meeting in March 2011. We work in partnership with concerned community members and partner organizations in the Miami Valley and across the state and the country in a holistic approached aimed at preventing human trafficking, protecting victims and survivors, and helping to prosecute the criminals responsible. Abolition Ohio leads the Miami Valley’s anti-human trafficking coalition with over 30 member organizations and 200 individual members from across Southwest Ohio. We are a registered, unincorporated nonprofit organization in the state of Ohio and a project of the University of Dayton Human Rights Center. The University of Dayton is our parent 501.c.3.

History of Abolition Ohio

In 2001 the Human Rights program organized a major conference on the Rights of the Child to assess the progress and achievements made in connection to the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted at the World Conference on the Child in 1990. At the conference considerable attention was given to the trafficking of children. In 2003 the Human Rights program organized a conference on Violence against Women. As with the conference on the Rights of the Child, the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation surfaced as a critical issue that merited sustained engagement by the program. In 2006 The Federal Bureau of Investigation in Dayton Ohio invited the director of the Human Rights program to participate in a series of meetings whose aim was to establish a human trafficking working group to combat human trafficking in the Greater Dayton/Miami Valley region of Ohio. Ultimately, the FBI decided to postpone the creation of the working group for budgetary reasons.

Over the next few years numerous social service and law enforcement agencies in the Miami Valley, and throughout Ohio, became increasingly aware of the existence of human trafficking in the Miami Valley. In this timeframe, an Ohio state senator introduced a bill to make human trafficking a standalone offense under Ohio law. When the bill stalled in the Ohio legislature, the Human Rights program decided to organize a major community summit to develop a coordinated plan of action to combat human trafficking. The November 2009 conference was attended by local, state and federal officials (including the senator who had sponsored the human trafficking bill SB 235, the Ohio Attorney General, the FBI, Ohio law enforcement officials, and the police chiefs and sheriffs of Montgomery and Clark counties), as well as a broad range of area social services providers. That conference set in motion a community dialogue about the need for a Rescue and Restore Coalition, modeled after the US Department of Health and Services program, in the Miami Valley.

In March 2010, the Human Rights program hosted a meeting of the Washington-based Coalition of Catholic Organizations against Human Trafficking. That Coalition operates under the auspices of the Migration and Refugee Services of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which at the time was under a HHS contract to coordinate anti-trafficking programming throughout the entire United States. The participants in the November 2010 community summit on human trafficking also participated in the Coalition meeting. At the conclusion of the March 2010 meeting, the Human Rights program took the decision to organize Abolition Ohio, the Rescue and Restore Coalition in the Miami Valley.  The creation of Abolition Ohio was formally announced at a Human Trafficking Awareness event held in the Ohio State House.

As one of its first acts, Abolition Ohio endorsed and lobbied for the enactment of Ohio SB 235, which made human trafficking a stand-alone felony in Ohio. Faculty members and students from the Human Rights program, representing Abolition Ohio, were invited to testify before the Ohio senate in the final stages of debate on SB 235. The governor of Ohio signed the bill into law on December 23, 2010.


Abolition Ohio

Keller Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2790