Cleveland Browns Coach Hue Jackson and his wife, Michelle, officially launched the Hue Jackson Foundation on July 20th. As parents of three daughters, they are dedicated to supporting non-profit organizations that embolden and offer hope to victims of sexual exploitation and coercion. The foundation is committed to empowering children, teen and adult victims of Human Trafficking through the funding of organizations that champion for and serve as a voice for those who are exploited. The focus of its efforts are to raise further awareness, prevention and healing for victims of this crime.
The foundation’s first initiative is partnering with the Salvation Army.
“We are delighted that the Hue Jackson Foundation has partnered with the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland to help fund much-needed safe housing for adult female Human Trafficking victims,” shares Coach Jackson. “The Hue Jackson Survivors of Human Trafficking Residence will offer a safe environment for victims to heal and focus on their treatment. It will include shared office space for law enforcement, healthcare and social service professionals who work with them. In addition to these agencies, the Renee Jones Empowerment Center will utilize this office. The foundation believes that in order for survivors to break the trafficking cycle, secure housing is critical,” Coach Jackson explained.
Finding adequate and appropriate emergency and transitional housing where women are protected from their traffickers is often the biggest service-related challenge. Estimates show that there are less than 100 beds available nationally for an estimated 100,000 identified traffic victims annually. The Hue Jackson Survivors of Human Trafficking Residence will include beds for 12 women, a community gathering room, restrooms and office space.
Major Evan Hickman, the Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army’s Northeast Ohio Division stated, “Like the Hue Jackson Foundation, The Salvation Army is committed to combating Human Trafficking in Greater Cleveland. We are honored to be working together with the Foundation to establish the Hue Jackson Foundation Survivors Recovery Center. Through an upgrade to current facilities and with a team of partners, the Center’s goal will be to create a safe and nurturing environment for survivors of Human Trafficking to begin the process of healing and recovery. “
Victims of Human Trafficking have been robbed of their autonomy and self-respect by traffickers that use violence, physical and emotional coercion, fraud, debt bondage and other means to subjugate their victims and exploit them for sex and labor commerce. These victims can be children, teens or adults, male or female, of any race or ethic group. Human Trafficking happens in cities and suburbs, in rural and urban areas and in both lower income and upper income neighborhoods.
Statistics from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center in Washington, D.C. show human trafficking cases in Ohio are some of the highest in the nation. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his office have put forth a lot of efforts toward battling Human Trafficking, including the formation of the Human Trafficking Commission.
“Human traffickers target the most vulnerable members of our society who need the most help and use them for their own profit and advancement,” says DeWine. “The work that the Hue Jackson Foundation will do to help combat this will be invaluable in providing awareness and prevention, to help protect our children and loved ones from falling victim to this heinous crime.”
Andrea Wedren, Executive Director of the Hue Jackson Foundation announced the organization’s first fundraising event entitled “Breaking Down the Game – An Evening with Coach Jackson”. This will be a behind-the-scenes inside look at the previous week’s game as Coach breaks down film and takes guests through the playbook. The event will be held on Thursday, November 2nd. More details to come!