The Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition was formed in January 2009 to respond to human trafficking. It is comprised of health care, social service, law enforcement, government agencies, churches, citizens, and those that are or have been involved in the sex industry working together to develop appropriate prevention strategies and intervention responses to victims of trafficking.
Over 4,000 individuals received training in 2013. Other achievements include the implementation of standard victim identification protocols in the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, the creation of a Public Service Announcement, screening tools produced for United Way 2-1-1 and events including the International Human Trafficking, Prostitution and Sex Work Conference, Traffic Jam and a local Human Trafficking Awareness Month event.
To unite the community to respond to human trafficking through increased awareness for educators, health care providers, social service providers, law enforcement, and the general community while developing collaborative protocols and procedures to respond to victims, target demand, and prevent future victimization and exploitation.
The LCHTC shapes the future through public awareness by bringing together diverse groups to end human trafficking.
The majority of the work for the Coalition occurs in Subcommittees. The Coalition is currently divided into the following subcommittees:
Education, Prevention & Marketing
- Purpose: To engage in education and prevention related activities to those at risk, their support systems, as well as the professional community while raising awareness about human trafficking to the general public.
- Activities: Conduct training in the community to raise awareness about human trafficking, coordinate community events, distribute literature and make effective use of written, print, and social media.
Protocols & Procedures
- Purpose: To create a comprehensive response to victims of international and domestic sex and labor trafficking for victims, customers, traffickers, and the supporters of traffickers while addressing local municipal codes or support state legislation that assists in combating sex trafficking.
- Activities: The development of protocols (the rule), along with the development of procedures (what to do to follow the rule) to address areas of prevention, protection, and prosecution of human trafficking. Accomplished by working with local and state legislators to write, introduce, advocate, and support for codes, laws, and policies that combat trafficking.
- Purpose: Support the charitable efforts of the coalition.
- Activities: Establishes the policy and procedures for grants, accepts applications, reviews them, and recommends recipients to the Executive Committee.
Starting on May 2014, the coalition meets at the Kent Branch Library, 3101 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo, OH 43610 (corner of Collingwood and Central) on the third Wednesday of the month. The library opens at 9am and the full Coalition meets from 9:15am to 11:15am.
Subcommittees are scheduled to meet during the full Coalition meetings. Please refer to the by-laws for detailed description of the goals and purpose for each subcommittee.
Each individual is expected to sign in at every meeting and introduce themselves during introductions. Minutes are recorded and e-mailed to Coalition members. An agenda is created every month; members can request to add items to the agenda.
Mary Jay (Co-chair of the Coalition) is a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) working at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department since 2002. As a DIS, Mary works with people who have been diagnosed with HIV and/or syphilis, and has been a member of the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition since its inception in 2008. She implemented the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department’s (TLCHD) human trafficking response plan in 2010, making the TLCHD the first health department in the state of Ohio to institute such a strategy. Ms. Jay conducts human trafficking presentations around the state of Ohio, and also presented at the Ohio Attorney General’s annual conference.
Laura Neal (Co-chair of the Coalition) has worked for Lucas County Children Services for nearly 27 years and as an active member of the Coalition for 5 years. She is the Assistant Manager of the Family Services Department and provides direct supervision to the single case worker whose caseload is dedicated to serving rescued victims and their families.
Jared S. Rose (Secretary) is a licensed professional counselor and nationally certified counselor whose areas of expertise include HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, sex/gender minorities, sexual health, and impact of culture on sexualization of children & the sexual exploitation of women/girls. He has been a member of the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition since its inception. Since that time he has served in a variety of roles including chairing of committees and five years on the organizing committee for the annual International Conference on Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sex Work. Mr. Rose is also currently working on his doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision at the University of Toledo.
Deborah Wedding (Treasurer) has worked for Lucas County Children Services for 23 years as an ongoing family caseworker. She has been a member of the Coalition for almost 2 years. She services families through Lucas County Family Drug Court and has been identified to work with minor human trafficking victims and their families. She has volunteered on the International Conference on Human Trafficking, Prostitution and Sex Work.
Laura Draheim (co-Chair of the Community Education, Prevention & Marketing Committee) recently retired from a career in child welfare, primarily overseeing programming in adoption and foster care. Currently, she serves on community boards as a volunteer consults with community agencies, assisting with their program development and agency promotion.
Faith Kelleher (co-Chair of the Community Education, Prevention & Marketing Committee) is the development manager for the Production Department at A Renewed Mind Services, a program that aims to help youth develop vocational and social skills in Northwest Ohio. Faith initially joined the fight against human trafficking by interning for the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition while earning her master’s degree in Social Work. Faith works to raise awareness on human trafficking by presenting to local groups and organizations and by administering LCHTC social media. Faith was recently appointed to serve as co-chair to the coalition’s Community Education, Prevention & Marketing sub-committee.
Celia Williamson (co-chair of the Protocols & Procedures committee), Ph.D., Professor of Social Work at the University of Toledo, founded the first program for domestic victims in Ohio in 1993. She has completed 9 studies, 17 articles/reports, and edited 2 books on prostitution and sex trafficking around the world. She has been funded by the DOJ or NIH from 2002 to 2012 to conduct research in this area. Celia co-chairs the oldest annual academic conference on human trafficking in the nation. She founded the LCHTC, chairs the Research and Analysis Committee for Ohio’s State anti-Trafficking Commission, and is an Editorial Manager for the Journal of Human Trafficking.
Ashley Wickerham-Cutcher (co-chair of the Protocols & Procedures committee), MSW, is the Associate Director of the Human Trafficking & Social Justice Institute at the University of Toledo. In addition to co-chairing the Protocols & Procedures Committee, Ashley is an active member of the conference planning committee that organizes the International Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sex Work Conference each year at the University of Toledo. Ashley also serves as a member of the Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Research and Analysis committee.
Jennifer Wedge (chair of the Grants committee) began her career in human services 16 years ago as a registered nurse. In 2013, in response to her increasing awareness of human trafficking, Jennifer made a profound shift in her career path in order to devote her energies to more effectively help fight the crime of human trafficking and its effects on victims. She has been the Volunteer Administrative Assistant for the Legal Aid of Western Ohio’s Human Trafficking Protection Project since October of 2013. In addition to her membership in the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition and chair of the Grants Sub-Committee, Jennifer is a member and co-founder of the Defiance Area chapter of the Northwest Ohio Rescue & Restore Coalition. She currently attends Defiance College, graduating in May 2016 with a BS in Criminal Justice. Her student activities include co-founder, member, and current treasurer of “Free the Slaves: Defiance College Chapter”, Defiance’s student-led anti-trafficking organization, and member of the Criminal Justice Society. After graduating Defiance College, Jennifer plans to attend University of Toledo School of Law.
Keith Instone (IT support) is a user experience consultant.
Also, Amy LaGesse is a guest of the Executive Committee based on her role as the Regional Grant Coordinator for the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition.