Cleveland center works to end human trafficking

The center operates in Cleveland

A local victim speaks about her time in the sex trade in Youngstown and Austintown, Ohio.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKBN) – If you’re a victim of forced prostitution, the women at the Renee Jones Empowerment Center in Cleveland want you to know just one thing: You have a future.

Rachel Kaisk first shared her story on First News on Tuesday; she’s a survivor of human trafficking who found her way to the Renee Jones Center.

She spent almost half her life being forced to work in the sex trade. Now she mentors other women at the Renee Jones Center.

She says that has helped her deal with her own emotional scars.

“I knew I needed deeper recovery, with some of the stuff that I’ve been through,” Kaisk said.

The Renee Jones center has helped countless women through its Project Red Cord, first launched in 2008.

“We started the project not really focused on human trafficking but on focusing on helping the women and girls come out of the commercial sex industry,” Founder Renee Jones said.

At the center, women learn life skills and start on the road to recovery. Women like Rachel also help educate police and state lawmakers.

Kaisk now helps train police on how to help victims of trafficking. She started with some of the officers who once arrested her in Mahoning County.

“They looked at me like I was a nuisance, like I wanted to be out there. They didn’t know my situation,” Kaisk said.

Officers in Ohio are learning how to help women escape. New laws in the state also make human trafficking a felony.

Even with the most strict laws, there may never be a full end to human trafficking. but in the meantime, there will be organizations like the Renee Jones Center, helping those who want out.

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