CLEVELAND — The signs that the All-Star Game is about to arrive in Cleveland are clear. Exhibits are going up, roads are closed and police are out in force. But, there are the billboards near area highways reinforcing human trafficking can happen anywhere.
“There’s always more trafficking whenever you have large scale events, especially sporting events,” said Renee Jones, President and CEO Renee Jones Empowerment Center.
Organizations like the Renee Jones Empowerment Center have been preparing for the All-Star Game as well.
“The traffickers get together from all over, different states, bring women in because they can make a lot of money,” said Jones.
For weeks, the group has held a line up of educational events including partnering with SOAP, Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution and Holy Angels Church.
Jones said they helped volunteers understand the signs of human trafficking.
The volunteers then took that information to area hotels because there are areas that have a higher risk of encountering the victims of human trafficking. Those areas include airports, bus stations, salons, emergency rooms, motels and hotels.
“You want to make sure people in the hotel industry, the front and back of the house are aware because those are the people who go into the rooms,” said Jones.
Jones has been in the business of helping the victims of human trafficking for almost 20 years. She said it is a crime that crosses all socioeconomic lines.
“For the 17 years, we’ve been doing this type of work, there hasn’t been a suburb that I haven’t had at least one person from, “Jones said.
Volunteers plan to hit the streets in the coming days to educate the community about the problem of human trafficking and the signs of it.