Skip to main content


Students, Abolition Ohio to testify on behalf of Ohio bills to aid human trafficking victims

University of Dayton students working with Abolition Ohio in the UD Human Rights Center will testify on behalf of two bills Nov. 16 at the Ohio statehouse that will help human trafficking victims get back on their feet.

"Human trafficking victims often are compelled by their traffickers into prostitution, soliciting, and a wide range of other offenses through no fault of their own. Convictions for these offenses prevent human trafficking victims from getting housing, jobs or professional accreditation. Current Ohio law expunges those offenses, but only if the victim has one of a very limited set of preconditions. What Ohio SB 183 and HB 319 will do is drop those preconditions so more victims and survivors can qualify to have their records cleared,” said Tony Talbott, director of Abolition Ohio and director of advocacy at the UD Human Rights Center.

Expungement goes further than sealing a record because sealed records cannot be destroyed and there's always a chance they can be reopened, Talbott added. He went on to say these bills also will expand protections for victims of labor trafficking who may be compelled into drug trafficking or theft.

Abolition Ohio representatives will join representatives from Cincinnati-based Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, End Slavery Cincinnati and other anti-trafficking coalitions around the state to testify Wednesday morning. They and lawmakers sponsoring the legislation will hold a press conference at 8:30 a.m. in the Grant hearing room 110 at the Ohio Statehouse.

While very early in the legislative process, Talbott hopes the group's testimony will help the bills advance out of committees and garner more bipartisan support.

Talbott, Abolition Ohio and UD's Human Rights Center have long been engaged in the fight against human trafficking. 

The University of Toledo's Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute gave Talbott its Champion for Human Rights and Social Justice Award in 2020. Abolition Ohio leads the School Trafficking Outreach Program (STOP) in local schools to help students identify and avoid signs of human trafficking. Talbott also was part of a UD group that helped lobby on behalf of an Ohio bill to make human trafficking a felony and researched and wrote a report on disrupting human trafficking in illicit massage businesses in Ohio. 

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at To connect with Talbott Wednesday, Nov. 16, call or text him at 937-545-9623.


News and Communications Staff