Richmond Heights police officers donate to organization that helps victims of human trafficking

Officers with the Richmond Heights Police Department recently made personal donations to the...
Officers with the Richmond Heights Police Department recently made personal donations to the Harriet Tubman Movement. That organization helps victims of human trafficking restart their lives.(Richmond Heights Police)
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 1:20 PM EDT
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RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio ranks among the top 10 states for number of calls made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, according to the office of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

It’s a crime that happens in major cities, suburbs and small towns.

The state’s 2021 Human Trafficking Annual Report states, “The data collected for 2021 shows that law enforcement reported identifying 92 human trafficking suspects, leading to 50 arrests and 14 successful criminal convictions.”

The growing crime trend is something law enforcement continually educates themselves on in hopes of being able to better detect victims and make arrests.

Richmond Heights Police Chief Thomas Wetzel said his department recently had a presentation from the Harriet Tubman Movement.

The organization serves people who have been subjected to sex trafficking, prostitution or other forms of exploitation. Employees provide numerous services and assistance to help victims get a new start in life.

Wetzel said the presentation was moving and officers took it upon themselves to personally donate $500 to help the Harriet Tubman Movement continue its important work.

Wetzel wrote on the department’s Facebook page, “A Richmond Heights Police Chief’s job is a rewarding one due to the caliber and character of our police officers, but sometimes their class and empathy is particularly impressive and will make a Chief proud.”

19 News recently got a firsthand look at an undercover human trafficking sting in Northeast Ohio.

For that report Attorney General Dave Yost said, “This operation’s mission was two-fold: to arrest johns soliciting sex and to proactively encounter potential victims. Our task reinforced both the consequences for buying sex and the pathways available for victims to find a way out.”

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