Freedom Center Presents Report on Sex Trafficking In Cincinnati

Contact: Natalie Hastings



Assia Johnson





Freedom Center Presents Report on Sex Trafficking in Cincinnati on Eve of Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Findings from Cleveland-based Imagine Foundation


CINCINNATI (January 10, 2013)— This morning, Cleveland-based Imagine Foundation presented a report on commercial sex trade and sex trafficking in the Cincinnati area to law enforcement and  social service agencies at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The results, some of which are confidential, provide insight to help with the prosecution of traffickers and also to provide recommendations for preventing trafficking in the area.


“The results of the study do not definitively identify sex trafficking,” explained Jesse Bach of the Imagine Foundation. “However, one can assume that sex trafficking occurs within markets for commercial sex, and by understanding those markets, we can infer behaviors and patterns related to sex trafficking in Cincinnati.”


From June 1 to August 31, 2013, Imagine Foundation researchers daily logged onto the escorts tab of During this period, they found 2,965 advertisements for commercial sex within the area, representing a total of 602 distinctive phone numbers and 104 distinct area codes.


The highest-occurring areas of advertisements were from the following areas: Sharonville, downtown Cincinnati, Springdale, Northgate, Norwood, Fairfield, Harrison and Western Hills, OH, Batesville, IN, and Covington and Newport, KY.  These geographical areas correlate with the interstate system in our region.


Within the photographs of these advertisements, 47.5% showed faces and 52.5% did not show faces. When a high number of photographs obscure faces in an area suspected to have trafficking (in the case, the interstate area), that increases the likelihood that sex trafficking exists.



Other findings included:

·       Sunday was the most popular day for advertisements, which was unique to the Cincinnati region (18.5% of advertisements)

·       Top origin area codes for calls responding to advertisements were Dayton, OH,  Louisville, KY, Columbus, OH, Evansville, IN and Portland, OR—but calls ranged from Miami, FL to Milwaukee, WI to Sacramento, CA.

·       The median price for an escort service call was $150


Based on these findings, the report states that reducing demand for commercial sex is key to preventing trafficking. It recommends putting a greater emphasis on prosecution of “johns,” the consumers who create demand for commercial sex and sex trafficking. If demand for commercial sex escalates, traffickers are encouraged to find more individuals who can meet consumer demand. The report states that while some individuals could be performing commercial sex acts willingly, they are often part of an oppressive cycle that can grow quickly out of control.

“Identification of both the perpetrators and the victims is the critical first step in eliminating human trafficking in our own community and around the world,” said Luke Blocher, director of national strategic initiatives for the Freedom Center. “We are grateful for the work of Imagine Foundation in providing the kind of hard data that our law enforcement and anti-trafficking agencies need to comprehensively attack this global human rights crime here in our own backyard.” Blocher also thanked Erin Meyer of End Slavery Cincinnati for convening the area leaders.

First conducted for Cleveland in 2011, this Cincinnati study is a continuation of the Imagine Foundation’s efforts to understand the mechanics of commercial sex and its relation to sex trafficking. This study was a larger, more concerted effort to bring quantitative research techniques to the sex trafficking fields. Click here for full report.





About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

We reveal stories of freedom’s heroes, from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom today. Museum open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sept. 2. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Sept. 3. Admission $12 adults; $10 seniors/students and $8 children, 3-12. Group discounts available with advance registration. 50 E Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-333-7500.


About the Imagine Foundation

The Imagine Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization registered in Cleveland, Ohio. Our goal is to spread awareness and promote solutions for building a more free world. We came together as an organization to equip and empower individuals and organizations to end the worst human rights violation in history, modern-day slavery.  Visit to learn ways that you can help end slavery and human trafficking.