Last night, Hue Jackson and his wife Michelle introduced their new charitable organization to combat human trafficking - the Hue Jackson Foundation. Hue Jackson explained why they chose to become involved with this particular issue:
Human trafficking - I don’t think a lot of people really know a lot about what goes on, and what exactly that entails. And it was an area that Michelle and I thought we could make a large impact in. As we did our research, we realized that there were a lot of unanswered questions about human trafficking, so we made a decision that this is where we wanted to spend our time and give our resources... We wanted to give back to the community, impact a lot of lives and make a difference.
Agencies fighting Human Trafficking, defined as modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act, are lacking resources to help liberated women recover back into society. While more than 100,000 women are recovered each year, there are only about 100 beds available to serve as transitional and emergency shelter.
Northeast Ohio reportedly has some of the highest rates of human trafficking in the nation. Understanding the need for action, Hue and Michelle partnered with the Salvation Army to open the Hue Jackson Survivors of Human Trafficking Residence, which will provide 12 beds and office space for a variety of support services to facilitate the reintegration of surviving women back into society.
Hue Jackson talks about why he chose to provide support to this particular aspect of Human Trafficking:
I think people just think it happens and then you start over. That's not what happens in this situation.
I think the lasting effects that happen to these young people — or even older people — they need help. And I think to be able to bridge that gap and help in so many different areas — it’s not just physical, it’s the mental, it takes on so many different avenues — I think it’s very important to lend that kind of assistance.
Hue further explains:
This is an issue that kind of goes uncovered, and a lot of people really don't want to talk about it. But I've never been that way. I'm not afraid of a challenge. Obviously, I've faced them every day.
We wanted to find something that we can make a huge impact in, not something that we just put our hands in or put our foot in. We're all in. We rolled up our sleeves and we're going to dive in and we want to make a difference in this area.
Not enough people really want to deal with this issue. They don't want to tackle it.
We've seen the impact of what this creature does to young people and even older people and we want to make a difference
The Hue Jackson Foundation will also partner with the Renee Jones Empowerment Center to bring this vision to reality.
125 were in attendance at the kickoff event last night, including Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine who, last year, opened a formed a commission to fight Human Trafficking in the state of Ohio.