Ohio Attorney General's task force focuses on helping victims of human trafficking

CLEVELAND -

The Renee Jones Empowerment Center opened its doors to help victims of human trafficking before many people even knew much about it. 

Since 2002, Renee Jones has worked with dozens of agencies to bring awareness to the problem, including the relatively new Cuyahoga County Regional Human Trafficking Task Force.

"The people on the task force have a heart, " Jones said. "They are very focused on their work."

Inside of a non-descriptive brick building, a small team of people work to find and help victims of human trafficking.

"Our main goal is to find the victim," said Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Mackey.  The task force has recovered and/or helped more than 100 victims.

"Their ages are from 14 to 66 years old," Mackey said. 

This new human trafficking task force is made up of several state, county and local law enforcement agencies. Independence Police Department is one of the departments who joined the task force in an attempt to stop human trafficking in its city and across the region.

The Cuyahoga County Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, part of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, is being led by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department and includes investigators from U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The task force is part of the The Ohio Attorney General's organized crime investigations commission. It's an effort by Attorney General Mike DeWine to crack down on the problem.

"The general public believes this happens in the inner-city. This is much more than that," said Cuyahoga County Det. John Morgan.

If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, call 216-443-6085

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