Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office hires senior investigator to focus on human trafficking

CLEVELAND - The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office has hired a senior investigator to focus on human trafficking cases in Cuyahoga County.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the investigator started Tuesday, January 15.

In 2013, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s handled 16 cases where there were suspicions of human trafficking. In the end, 8 were indicted with human trafficking charges.

Of the 8 cases, 6 defendants entered guilty pleas to other offenses and the human trafficking counts were dropped.

There are two cases headed for trial soon and the prosecutor’s office continues to investigate other human trafficking cases too.

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, due to the fact that Ohio is geo-located in the heartland of the United States, several interstate highways throughout Ohio allow it to be a major transit point from the midwest to the eastern seaboard. These same roadways that are used legitimately are also being used by human traffickers and smugglers to transport their victims and further their operations.

Just this month, a Cuyahoga Falls man was arrested for trying to buy a young girl online for $400. When Robert Thomas arrived in Alliance to pick up the little girl, he was arrested by undercover detectives.

Thomas was charged federally on Wednesday and is set to appear in Akron Federal Court at 1:30 p.m.

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