A new Akron Municipal Court program will help empower adult female victims of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and prostitution by helping with therapy and drug rehabilitation, along with offering a way for them to expunge past offenses. The program, called Restore Individual Self-Empowerment (RISE), was started by Judge Ron Cable in October.
“I created the program because our state has a major human trafficking problem,” said Cable. “I am passionate about helping identify these victims, learning about their past and guiding them as they improve their circumstances.”
He added: “Ohio law provides for expungement of certain offenses committed by human trafficking victims and I am confident RISE will impact our community in a positive way.”
RISE meets on Tuesdays and already has five women enrolled. Cable works closely with the Akron Municipal Court Probation Department to identify potential RISE participants and ensure the women enrolled are sober and have the resources needed to change their lifestyle and habits impacting their lifestyle.
Through the Akron Municipal Court’s partnerships with outside agencies, RISE provides services such as trauma therapy, drug rehabilitation, mentoring, housing and vocational sessions.
The program is voluntary and is modeled after the Franklin County Municipal Court’s Changing Actions To Change Habits (CATCH) Court started by Judge Paul Herbert in 2009.
Cable was elected to the bench in 2017. In addition to leading RISE, he will serve as Presiding Judge for Akron Municipal Court’s Family Intervention Court beginning in 2019.