I-Team speaks with woman at center of human trafficking case at Cleveland airport

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team caught up with a woman who’d been reported missing and involved in a case of human trafficking at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, but we found the full story surrounding the case is still a mystery.

Last month, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport posted on social media an emergency medical crew “identified a patient…actively being trafficked through CLE.”

It happened after paramedics got a call for a medical emergency outside the terminal.

Then, we started investigating to find out what actually happened. We learned the patient was a woman who’d been listed as missing out of East Cleveland.

The I-Team learned that the man with the woman who’d gotten sick had trouble answering basic questions about her. We found he even struggled with her name without checking his phone and the travel plans included a one-way ticket.

The woman ended up at the hospital and the Cuyahoga County Human Trafficking Task Force investigated.

Meanwhile, this week, we tracked down the woman. When she came to the door of a home, she told us she was doing, “OK.’ She said she’d been in some danger at the airport.

“I was leaving, actually. I was leaving out of state and I was with some guy, but I ended up going to the hospital,” she said. “I told them I didn’t really know who he was.”

We shared all of this with Laura Cowan, an activist who works to raise awareness of violence against women. She found this story chilling.

“It’s real. Human trafficking, domestic violence, but you got them preying on innocent people who are down on their luck, runaways. You never know,” Cowan said.

The Human Trafficking Task Force, ultimately, closed this case because there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

The woman involved in the case didn’t want to get into specifics with us.

“I don’t want to be talking about all of that,” she said.

Some questions may never be answered about the missing woman and the stranger at the airport.

We told the woman we didn’t expect to find her at the home where we met her.

“I usually would be in the streets. I’m not going to lie,” she said.

These cases are not easy to investigate. In fact, as we looked into this, we found a tangled web of missing person reports and other reports from multiple police departments.

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