February 13, 2017
The sixth annual Human Trafficking Awareness Program took place on January 30th at Cleveland City Hall. This year’s program, titled Keep the Light Shining, was co-hosted by the City of Cleveland Community Relations Board and the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking, a longtime grantee of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.
The program included speakers from the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking, the City of Cleveland Community Relations Board, the FBI Cleveland Office, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, the Cleveland Municipal Court, and the Renee Jones Empowerment Center among others.
“The event brought together the many partners across sectors in the region who are working together to end human trafficking in Northeast Ohio. It was hopeful to hear government employees, nonprofit leaders, and youth speak about the ways in which the community can work together to prevent human trafficking and support survivors of it,” commented Margaret Eigsti, a program officer at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and an attendee at the event.
According to the International Labor Organization, it is estimated that about 21 million people are trafficked and traffickers earn over 150 billion dollars every year. The Collaborative to End Human Trafficking, along with its partners, are steadily gaining momentum and support in increasing awareness of this widespread human rights issue, particularly through the “It Happens Here Too” campaign.
“Focusing on the incredible strides Northeast Ohio has made in creating a coordinated and comprehensive response to human trafficking, the call to action at the end of the event was to “Keep the Light Shining!” Margaret added. “The event concluded with attendees gathering on the steps of City Hall holding candles to represent the community’s commitment to continue shining a light and bringing hope to those impacted by human trafficking.”