A new campaign against child sex slavery in Ohio will, if approved by the state House of Representatives, attack the demand side of the problem.
State Senate members approved a bill targeting human trafficking this week. It would protect juveniles involved in the sex trade from going to jail in many situations, instead providing treatment to help them change their lives.
Also in the bill is a provision that adults who knowingly pay for sex with minors could be charged with felonies. By deterring "johns" from helping to victimize children, the new law, if enacted, could be a major step against human trafficking.
Harsher penalties for those who promote human trafficking also are included. The penalty would be increased to as much as 15 years in prison.
Thousands of Ohio children may be involved in what often amounts to sex slavery. One investigation indicated the average age at which youths become ensnared is 13.
Those who patronize prostitutes have in the past gotten free passes much of the time, either being convicted of misdemeanors or not charged at all. Holding those who pay for sex with children responsible for their actions is the right - and smart - thing to do.
House members should approve the bill so Gov. John Kasich can sign it into law.