MOUNT VERNON — Slavery — human trafficking — is sadly alive and well in this, the 21st century. And it is not confined to what some call third-world countries. The FBI estimates that 300,000 children are trafficked inside the United States each year and thousands of women are sold into sexual slavery here and abroad. Babies are sold on the black market to be brought up in brothels and trafficked at an early age or killed for their organs.
Women at Risk International intervenes on behalf of women and children worldwide. It provides safe houses, education and, through handicrafts and other projects, employment so the rescued women can support themselves and their families.
Rosemary Ziegler, a volunteer with Women at Risk International, said human trafficking happens in Ohio.
“Ohio is among the 12 worst states in the nation in its response to human trafficking,” she said. “Once you hear the problem of sexual trafficking, at least for me, I had to do something. It’s in our back yard. It’s here in Ohio as well as around the world. I just wanted to do whatever I could do.”