Breaking Barriers through Police Collaboration
In Cincinnati, One More Child’s Director of Anti-Trafficking Mobile Teams, Danielle Davis, is blazing a trail to break down barriers in the fight against trafficking. Recently, Davis collaborated to educate and empower the Cincinnati Police Department’s patrol officers to recognize and address human trafficking in their community.
Barriers Faced by Law Enforcement
Human trafficking presents a significant challenge for law enforcement due to ongoing issues surrounding awareness and understanding.
Despite recent progress, the covert nature of this crime makes it difficult to identify victims effectively. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, many trafficking victims themselves are unaware of their situation, caught in a cycle of trafficking and abuse. Contrary to a common myth, human trafficking often involves psychological coercion, such as manipulation or threats, rather than physical force.
Another obstacle law enforcement faces is the extended time it takes to resolve cases, often because of trauma-coerced attachment (TCA) or trauma bonding. TCA creates emotional ties between abusers and victims, compelling survivors to endure continued exploitation and shield their traffickers from legal consequences. This complex attachment can persist even after the survivor breaks free, resulting in behavior that may be challenging for others – including law enforcement – to understand.
Finally, victims often hesitate to speak out due to fears of harm, distrust in authorities or healthcare systems, shame, retaliation, or concerns about arrest. Breaking these barriers requires building trust and understanding what originally made a victim or survivor vulnerable to trafficking. Gaining a deeper understanding of each person’s unique circumstances enhances the effectiveness of anti-trafficking efforts.
Anti-Trafficking in Cincinnati
In the training, Davis shared statistics highlighting Ohio’s rank as the 6th state in the nation for human trafficking cases and information on the top three human traffickers, as identified by Polaris. She also emphasized the importance of patrol officers’ ability to recognize signs of trafficking during routine stops. She also educated officers about available services and resources, strengthening the connection between law enforcement and support networks.
Armed with this new information, the Cincinnati patrol officers can now streamline the identification of potential victims and connect them to vital service providers. But what sets One More Child’s effort in Cincinnati apart from anything else available in the community is its dedication to addressing the limitations existing service providers in the area face.
Davis faced the officers’ pointed questions about the extent of One More Child’s commitment. The queries included whether we would respond in the middle of the night, assist officers in finding shelter for trafficking survivors, and provide services to both minors and adults – officers found it noteworthy that in Cincinnati, we do not have an age limit on our services.
Without hesitation, Davis affirmed that commitment for the officers in the room, echoing the sentiments of One More Child President and CEO Dr. Jerry Haag.
In a recent press conference about anti-trafficking at the Florida capitol, Haag stated, “I want every trafficking survivor out there to know that we see you, we are standing with you, and we will not stop fighting for you.”
As the training concluded, a touching moment unfolded when a stack of Davis’ business cards at the front of the room became a symbol of trust. Each police officer took a card and placed it under their radios, signifying a collective pledge to reach out to One More Child for support.
Two Ways You Can Make a Difference Where You Live
You can make a difference in the fight against trafficking where you live. One More Child’s Anti-Trafficking 101 training is available to individuals and groups. It helps you recognize trafficking signs, report them to the proper channels, and respond to help put an end to the suffering of God’s children.
Your financial gifts also make a difference in our work with anti-trafficking survivors and the vulnerable children and struggling families we serve. Thank you for your faithful giving.