February 12, 2020
Last fall one Friday night, the Renee Jones Empowerment Center’s Street outreach team and myself entered a local Cleveland Westside strip club to drop off care packages to the exotic dancers at the club. The care packages included toiletries, notes of encouragement, and information about services offered at Renee Jones Empowerment Center (RJEC). Upon entering the club, we noticed an exotic dancer with Down Syndrome on stage performing for the customers. This experience branded an intensity in our hearts already ablaze to do all we can to end and prevent human trafficking and sexual exploitation. As a result, we have extended our services to intellectually disabled victims.
Human trafficking’s inhumane grasp has impacted individuals from all walks of life right within our own neighborhoods and local communities. A recent study on the prevalence of human trafficking in Ohio conducted by the University of Cincinnati, identified 1,032 victims in Ohio between 2014 -2016 and another 4,209 individuals at risk during this time period.
These numbers are conservative at best as this data was aggregated from limited sources, nevertheless they are astounding.
In 2019, we provided support and services to over 100 survivors of human trafficking and/or sexual exploitation. While we are actively creating awareness, educating the public, as well as providing direct services and support to victims, there is still more work to be done to eradicate human trafficking from our communities. Your support has been instrumental to our efforts to end human trafficking and provide long term support to survivors.
We are writing to ask for your continued financial support of the Renee Jones Empowerment Center this year with a donation to our Hearts on Fire fundraising campaign. A gift donation of any amount will help us to continue to educate and spread public awareness, expand street outreach efforts, and continue programs and services that will provide support to victims and survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. In addition, funds will be used to extend our services offerings by allowing us to provide general healthcare services to our clients in our new medical clinic.
Your continued support and generosity is invaluable to our mission and greatly appreciated.