It’s not every day that I actually get to cover something that is bigger than football on here, but I’m going to do a bit of that today after reading about the foundation created by Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson, which aims to combat human trafficking, an issue that often gets overlooked.
Perhaps it is partly because it seems so out of place in modern society that we could still possibly be dealing in the buying and selling of human beings as essentially property, and thus one might tend to assume that it can’t be all that big of an issue. But it is.
According to the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, there are currently several hundred-thousand, and perhaps more than one million incidents of human trafficking active in the United States alone, and that includes tens and tens of thousands of children. The majority of them are forced into sex work.
And Ohio has one of the most alarming rates of human trafficking around the country, which no doubt influenced Jackson’s decision to create this foundation, which will become active next week on Thursday.
“Coach Jackson, and his wife, Michelle, created the Hue Jackson Foundation for reasons dear to their hearts”, a statement released reads. “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 will focus its efforts to further awareness, prevention and healing for victims of this crime”.
The Hue Jackson Foundation intends to “empower 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”. Of course, there is only so much that one foundation can do to combat a very serious but under-discussed problem.
“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”, the statement describes.
“These victims can be children, teens or adults, male or female, of any race or ethnic group. Human Trafficking happens in cities and suburbs, in rural and urban areas, in lower income and upper income neighborhoods, on the streets and in the suburbs”.
Frequent targets of human trafficking come from the marginalized castes of society. Transgender youth often find themselves in the crosshairs of traffickers, as they often find themselves abandoned by their families and thus contribute to a growing homeless population.
I don’t care if Jackson ever wins a second football game for the Browns. What he is hoping to do through his organization is far bigger than a game anyway, and I hope that it produces a legacy to be proud of.