A third Ohio newspaper just published a story about The Black Lens.
The Dayton Daily News did a great job summarizing the novel and also reporting on the efforts of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who recently earned a win in this battle against human trafficking tools like Backpage.com.
The Black Lens includes several references to Backpage and how pimps are using sophisticated online tools like it to coerce thousands of victims in the United States. That’s why the reporter included information about the book in his article:
Former newspaper reporter turned author, Christopher Stollar of Columbus, spent a decade researching trafficking — three years of which was done in Ohio — and recently published his novel “The Black Lens.”
“It was eye-opening,” he said of the research which included interviewing law enforcment, social workers and more than a dozen trafficking survivors. “The fact is that many people don’t want to believe trafficking is happening in our own neighborhood, and that’s a reason it’s allowed to continue to grow.”
And Interstates 75 and 70 connect human traffickers to dozens of states, and while data is crucial to help fight human trafficking, “unfortunately there’s not a lot of good data out there,” Stollar said. “Data depends on reporting, and there’s not a lot of reporting because these women are fearful.”
National Human Trafficking Resource Center is the largest organization to track trafficking data, having done so since 2007. In Ohio in 2015, there were 1,066 calls and 289 cases reported to law enforcement. Through June this year, more than 700 calls have been received and 186 cases reported.
And the most common themes of the more than a dozen women Stollar interviewed was the use of online tools “to recruit and retain victims.”
“I think the biggest thing for me is,” he said, “I really hope that this book and news stories will ultimately help people understand that this happening.”