So far, one man is facing charges, but this has turned into a growing investigation.
A group fighting human trafficking believes this shows the crime is more common in Northeast Ohio than you might think.
Sunday, the Browns hit the field to start the season.
Records show, Saturday, a woman told police “she was supposed to perform sexual acts at a party during the Browns game.”
We’ve learned the victim told investigators she had come to Cleveland with a few other women taking buses and planes.
It came to light when the victim went to the emergency room at the Cleveland Clinic.
She “indicated ‘they’ would come looking for her.”
Police arrested a suspect outside the ER. Jacob Clay has been charged with trafficking in persons.
The victim told police that Clay planned to take her to a hotel. She had the room keys.
“Human trafficking happens here in our community,” said Kirsti Mouncey, who leads the Collaborative To End Human Trafficking.
She says no one should be surprised by women brought into Cleveland from far away to take part in sex for sale.
“We do hold that narrative here that human trafficking doesn’t really happen. Doesn’t happen that people are brought into Cleveland and booked for sex. But it does. Human trafficking happens here. We have to hear those stories,” she said.
Last winter, the I-Team exposed what’s missing at Hopkins Airport. You don’t see any signs or hear any announcements raising awareness of human trafficking and how to get help in a crisis.
An airport official told us months ago he’d be open to that, but, so far, nothing has changed.
Also, last winter, The Cuyahoga County Human Trafficking Task Force busted a rapper for human trafficking.
Back to this case, we’ve learned the victim said she has ties to human trafficking in South America.
All of it sheds new light on that push to spread the word on where to get help.
“We need those kind of messages for a victim that comes into Cleveland, to the airport, to the Greyhound (station) to say, ‘we know that this happening,’” Mouncey said.
The case that developed this weekend is being investigated by Cleveland police, Cleveland Clinic police and the Cuyahoga County Human Trafficking Task Force.
As for the campaign against human trafficking at the airport, Hopkins released the following statement:
“We continue to develop our program and collaborate with the Coalition to End Human Trafficking. We have received flyers that we intend on putting up at designated key points in the airport. We also have a Human Trafficking training that was developed internally and included input from the Coalition to deploy at CLE for Department of Port Control frontline employees as well as our partners within the building. This continues to be a priority for the airport and a work in progress as we determine the best ways to educate our staff and our guests with the goal of bringing greater awareness and providing improved resources for victims.”