Special court aims to help trafficking victims

Posted at 7:40 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 19:40:56-04

Dressed in her black judicial robe, Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Marilyn Cassidy,  walks into Courtroom 13 A in the Justice Center Monday afternoon.

Unlike most courtrooms, in this one, music is playing. When Judge Cassidy walked into the room, no need to ask those in attendance to stand, they were already on their feet. The judge is clapping her hands, dancing, hugging and shaking hands with the women whose cases she is about to hear.  

Cleveland Municipal Court has a relatively new Human Trafficking Specialized Docket. 

"It is essentially modern day slavery," explained Cassidy talking about human trafficking.

So far, about 100 women have gone through the specialized docket. "Everyone of these women has been with a clinical professional who  has administered a specific screening to identify human trafficking victim," said Cassidy. 

A team approach is used to help the victims. Members of the team include advocates, law enforcement, treatment professionals and more. All focused on helping the victims. 

Victims like Annette Mango who said the program has given her life back to her. "I'm very blessed. Thankful isn't a word that comes close," said Mango. She credits Judge Cassidy and the program for giving her life back to her. She is set to graduate in November. Mango said she has a job, is in transitional housing and for the first time in a long time, she said she is happy.