Just this month, 45 children have been reported missing in the Cleveland area, adding to the total of 1,072 children reported missing since the beginning of the year. While most of these children have returned home or been accounted for, authorities are concerned about the high rate of children running away in 2023.
Comparatively, Ohio had nearly double the number of runaways in 2022 compared to states like Georgia, North Carolina and Illinois – all with populations ranging from 10 million to 12 million.
The Ohio Attorney General's office has reported over 45 missing minors in the greater Cleveland area alone, all reported as missing since Sept. 1. Despite the likelihood that many are runaways, law enforcement is struggling to keep up with the demand from worried parents seeking to locate their children.
Newburgh Heights Police Chief John Majoy expressed concern over the unusually high number of missing children between the ages of 12 and 17 in 2023. He mentioned the uncertainty surrounding their whereabouts and whether they might be involved in activities such as trafficking, gang-related activities or drugs.
"For some reason, in 2023, we've seen a lot more than we normally see, which is troubling because we don't know what's going on with some of these kids. Whether they're being trafficked or whether they're involved in gang activity or drugs," Majoy said. (Related: Dozens of children have gone MISSING in Cleveland over a two-week period in May.)
The sudden increase in missing children has caught many by surprise. Parents like Sherice Snoden, whose 15-year-old son Keshaun is missing, are deeply worried and eager to find their children.
While authorities believe that most cases involve runaways rather than abductions, they emphasize that teenagers can be vulnerable to predators, sometimes disguised as friendly individuals. Many of these missing children do not make headlines because they do not meet the strict criteria for an Amber Alert.
The Amber Alert requires reasonable belief of an abduction and imminent danger of serious harm or death to the child.
Interviewed on the News5 Cleveland, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said inconsistencies often happen throughout the process, such as updating reports. "All of these things have localized reporting problems that again are a function of local conditions," Yost said.
"We do our best to encourage compliance and improve assistance to remove barriers, but at the end of the day, we have to rely on our local partners that we don't control. I am fearful of all kinds of things that fall through the cracks including missing children. I rely on the tenacity of a worried parent more than I do a harried bureaucrat whose job it is to put data into a computer."
The possibility that many of the children have become victims of trafficking is real.
As of June 2022, Ohio ranks fifth for human trafficking incidents. The state’s rate of human trafficking is about 3.84 victims per 100,000 residents, putting Ohio at the fourth worst ratio in the nation, according to htcourts.org.
The victim-to-population ratio is translated to approximately 450 human trafficking incidents in Ohio during the same year.
According to the Ohio Attorney General, more than 2,000 school-age children in Ohio are potentially at risk of being forced into human trafficking.
The Human Trafficking Resource Guide for Ohio’s Public Children Services Agencies said there were 1,032 known victims of human trafficking in Ohio between 2014 and 2016, and most of them were minors and victims of sex trafficking.
Watch a whistleblower saying that the U.S. government can't and won't stop trafficking.
This video is from The Resistance 1776 channel on Brighteon.com.