According to Trib Live, 3 Pennsylvania men by the names of David Kent, 24, of Cranberry Township, Steven Sutton, 44, of Prospect, and Thomas Yakemovic III, 30, of West Middlesex, were among 16 arrested on May 17, 2019 in Youngstown Ohio and are accused of sexual exploitation of children. The arrests were a part of the second undercover sting in the Youngstown area this year. The first took place on March 14th.
The investigation was conducted by the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force. The arrests were announced by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Mahoning County Sheriff Greene. The Attorney General’s office said this investigation was part of an ongoing effort to curb commercial sexual exploitation in the state.
“This trap will be laid time and time again until the message reverberates — don’t buy sex in Ohio,” said Yost, “Task forces are a force multiplier and their success is evident in the number of criminals taken off the street.”
While this undercover investigation did not report to identify any actual victims of commercial sexual exploitation or trafficking, it is important to note that prostitution is never a “victimless crime”. The severe psychological trauma that accompanies being purchased for sex lasts a lifetime. In fact, 98% of those involved in the commercial sex trade, and even 96% of those who have exited, report at least one psychological issue. The most commonly reported problem being depression, with anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, low self-esteem, feelings of shame or guilt, and PTSD following close behind. 42% of survivors of the commercial sex trade attempted suicide while actively involved, and 21% attempted suicide after they had exited.
The CSE Institute is glad to see the neighboring state of Ohio making the effort to target those who pay for sex, especially those who intend to engage in commercial sex with children. Investigations such as this are vital in the battle to end commercial sexual exploitation and the trauma it inflicts on those involved.
All viewed expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.