Human trafficking survivors speak to help save others

Renee Jones Empowerment Center and Notre Dame College hold annual symposium.

WKYC Staff, WKYC6:21 p.m. EDT August 9, 2013

CLEVELAND — It’s a $32 billion a year industry. Yet many of us would like to think human trafficking doesn’t exist. But it does and it’s right here. The Renee Jones Empowerment Center and Notre Dame College cohosted an annual symposium Friday to raise awareness about human trafficking and sexual slavery. But this year was different, they say, with interest and awareness on this issue growing. That’s thanks in part to the survival of Amanda, Gina and Michelle shedding light on other women who have chains of a different kind. The center has worked with victims from every suburb in Cuyahoga County, says CEO and President Renee Jones.
China Krys Darrington advocates for the Renee Jones Empowerment Center against Sex Trafficking

China Krys Darrington advocates for the Renee Jones Empowerment Center against Sex Trafficking

“My trafficker was in northeastern Ohio. The people who I was trafficked to were in northeastern Ohio,” said China Darrington. She’s one of thousands in our area who have been enslaved. But Darrington is one of only a few that will talk about it. “It’s a lot easier to heal from something like this if you know that other people have been through it and they are walking through their story with you,” she said.

Rachel Kaisk was 16 when she was sold for sex; now she advocates to other parents: give love and lots of attention. “If I would have got the attention I wouldn’t have been so eager to go off with the guy that I thought was my boyfriend that was my pimp,” she said.

“The whole issue of trafficking, there’s many components we need to deal with,” said Jones. “We have to help the victims and survivors but we also need to deal with the demand side.” Jones says holding johns accountable is key to seeing this devastating issue go away. “It would not be an issue if there was not a demand,” she said.

To keep fighting on that end, RJEC is planning a fall workshop called Men of Purpose. They are alsoworking with state legislators to pass stricter rules for traffickers. “When you come to conferences like this that speaks about human trafficking, you start realizing: it could happen to you. It could happen to your children,” said Darrington.

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