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Special Docket for Human Trafficking Cases Begins: Judge Marilyn B. Cassidy to Oversee Special Docket

Nov 14, 2014
After eleven months of planning and preparation, The Cleveland Municipal Court will begin a specialized docket Monday, November 17, 2014 that will hear cases involving victims of human trafficking, who will now be given an opportunity to turn their lives around.
Contact:  Ed "Flash" Ferenc
 ference@cmcoh.org     216 664 6787

(Cleveland) – After eleven months of planning and preparation, The Cleveland Municipal Court will begin a specialized docket Monday, November 17, 2014 that will hear cases involving victims of human trafficking, who will now be given an opportunity to turn their lives around.

The two year program is voluntary and will involve judicial supervision and access to treatment and recovery support services designed to improve the lives of the participants and the welfare of the community.

“The goal is to eventually build a system where any individual who is a victim of human trafficking will get the services they need,” said Cleveland Municipal Judge Marilyn B. Cassidy, who will oversee the program, which has a lot of support in the community.

“We have a very active and passionate advisory board that is comprised of local treatment providers, The Cleveland Safety Department, both the city and county prosecutor’s office, the sheriff, public defender, and the respective administrative judges from domestic relations, juvenile and general divisions of the county courts.   This will be a group effort to fight a growing problem,” said Judge Cassidy.

She points out the main problem with human trafficking is that people who are trafficked, often don’t know they are victims.  They are vulnerable because they are young, suffer from a disability, they are dependent on drugs or all of the above. Seventy-five percent of human trafficking cases involve females with many just 12-13 years of age.

With the establishment of the specialized docket, possible victims will be screened and referred to Judge Cassidy’s treatment team which will include trauma counseling, recovery housing and help with possible substance abuse.  Law enforcement would also be involved to aid in tracking down the traffickers themselves.

To help the victims reintegrate with the community, the Hitchcock Center for Women has partnered with the Court and will be providing safe and sober housing, thanks to a $58,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The money will provide ten time unlimited recovery housing units for individual women and those with up to two dependent children.

Judge Cassidy’s docket is the second of its type in the State of Ohio.  Columbus started what they call the CATCH Court in 2009.  CATCH is an acronym for Change Action to Change Habits.

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