Cuyahoga County, State Officials Announce Human Trafficking Task Force

May 26, 2017

Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney says he wanted to announce the new task force today since the NBA Finals may entice traffickers to bring their victims here from around the country.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Ohio law enforcement officials have formed a new task force to combat human trafficking in Cuyahoga County.

At least one investigator for the task force will be on-call in Cleveland 24/7. This area is unique for trafficking due to its proximity to Canada, several expressways and also Michigan and Pennsylvania, according to Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney. He says the key for the new task force is collaboration at the local, state and federal levels using traditional channels as well as social media.

“If someone is trafficked in Westlake, that pimp isn’t going to stay in Westlake. They’ll go to Independence or Brooklyn or now they’re in Detroit. Sharing that information is very critical.

“Right now, we have the NBA Finals coming here. So we’re going to be having some victims coming here from different states: from down south, from California or whatever. So if we can get that information, we know what to look for, and we can send our folks out there to look for it.”

The task force has been operational for several months, and Sherriff Pinkney says he wanted to officially announce it today because the Finals are coming up. A task force investigator is available 24-hours-a-day at 216-443-6085.