"Operation Autumn Hope" rescued 109 human trafficking victims.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

COLUMBUS (KDKA) – A man who officials say claimed to be a pastor and local college professor was arrested in connection with what’s believed to be the largest anti-human trafficking operation in Ohio history.

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During “Operation Autumn Hope,” dozens of arrests were made by the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force. One arrests made in connection with the operation was 33-year-old Jarod Mills from New Castle.

The attorney general’s office says the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, which leads the Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force, arrested Mills.  A spokesman with the Ohio attorney general’s office says Mills told them he’s a pastor and Butler County Community College professor.

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(Photo: Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office)

Mills is facing multiple felony charges, including importuning and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

The Ohio attorney general’s office also says Nathan Lucas of Hermitage, Pennsylvania was another aside from Ohio residents arrested in the anti-human trafficking operation.

The operation led to 109 human trafficking victims being rescued and referred to social surfaces. Meanwhile, 76 missing and exploited children cases were cleared and 45 kids were physically recovered by the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

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“The success of Operation Autumn Hope is measured not only in the number of arrests but in the lives that were rescued from this evil. Every agency on this team looks for the day when no person is bought and sold in Ohio. Don’t buy sex in Ohio!” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a press release.