#sextrafficking | Anti-Human Trafficking Organization receives grant from Dept. Of Justice | #tinder | #pof | #match

CLEVELAND, Tenn (WDEF) – A Cleveland non profit that works to combat human trafficking has been awarded a grant from the Department of Justice.

Willowbend Farms has been awarded over $700 hundred thousand dollars to continue to fight against sex trafficking in our area.

The organization is planning on opening a Human Trafficking Emergency Response Center, the first of its kind in our area. 

“This is going to allow us to have a more responsive behavior towards helping someone instead of a reactive behavior where we need to contact someone to see if a domestic violence shelter has something open. This takes us completely out of reactive mode, allows us to respond so we will be able to take someone to a secure location immediately,” says Sarah McKinnis, Founder of Willowbend Farms.

If you suspect human trafficking report it to the police immediately. If you see something say something. 

(888) 373-7888

National Human Trafficking Hotline

SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week



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Joeli Poole joined the WDEF News 12 Team in April 2019 as a Reporter and Producer.
You can find her reporting during the week and when not on camera; she’s producing the 6 and 11 shows.

Joeli grew up with a love for reporting, starting in middle school. She has been the anchor for her middle and high school TV stations, along with the Sports Anchor for her College TV Station.

Joeli grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and moved to Tennessee when she 10 years old. She went to Cleveland Middle school and Walker Valley High School. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor’s degree in Communications.

Being from the area, Joeli loves being able to help tell the stories of her community. In her spare time, Joeli enjoys watching her LSU Tigers, hiking, and playing with her dog.

Feel free to email any story ideas at jpoole@wdef.com.

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