DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Sex trafficking has increased locally and nationally because of job loss, a lack of housing security and reduced social and public services according to Abolition Ohio, an anti trafficking coalition in southwest Ohio organized by the University of Dayton.

“COVID-19 is increasing vulnerabilities that traffickers are exploiting so it’s probably increasing trafficking,” said Tony Talbott, director of Abolition Ohio. “You may have lost your job and lost your housing security and are not sure where you’re going to be. So it might be easy for someone to convince you to get into a situation out of desperation.”

Talbott and his team are now offering a number of online services including free public Zoom sessions including a STOP video, which is a school trafficking outreach video and human trafficking 101 aimed at high school age kids and a more advanced 101 aimed at the general public.

According to Talbot, most of the victims have something in common.

“Almost every single person who we come across who is a victim of human trafficking, is also addicted to using drugs as well,” he said.

The Abolition Ohio Monthly Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition Meetings are hosted on the second Friday of the month and are open to the public via zoom.

Abolition Ohio Meet-Ups are monthly informal, guided discussion of issues related to human trafficking held on the fourth Wednesday of the month these are also offered on Zoom for free. Registration is required.