Marcella Boyd Cox of E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home in Cleveland, Ohio is following in the footsteps of her father, William F. Boyd Sr. She understands the importance of staying active and becoming a leader in her community. She also works to educate and protect her community by making them aware of potential dangers, whether health risks like those addressed at last month’s Minority Men’s Health Fair, or societal dangers such as human trafficking.
An interactive presentation was held at the Fatima Family Center on May 17, 2012, and was free and open to the public. Presented by the Community Relations Board, “Let’s Put a Stop to Human Trafficking” was a joint effort between the City of Cleveland and the Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking to spread awareness and promote action. Speakers at this event included Crystal Murphy and Keathun Gale of the Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking and Karen McHenry from Bellefaire JCB. It is through open dialogue and events like this one that communities become educated about potential dangers, and can find ways to protect themselves, their loved ones, friends, neighbors, and even strangers.
This is not a new cause for Marcella Boyd Cox; she has actually seen the presentation several times. Nevertheless, each presentation continues to be a powerful experience for ger. In January 2011, when she was vice president of programs for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the group held a Coalescing Conversation on the subject of human trafficking. In order to spread further awareness, Marcella worked with two of the speakers mentioned above, Crystal Murphy and Karen McHenry, to organize a segment on News Channel 5’s Kaleidoscope with Leon Bibb. Kaleidoscope is a weekly program that focuses on public affairs, and is presented in collaboration with the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, Kaleidoscope Magazine, and News Channel 5. The television medium allowed information to be spread to a much wider audience than town hall style meetings could afford.
And she’s not done yet. Marcella believes that, “the public needs to be proactive and keep a watchful eye.” To that end, she has already posted several flyers in E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home locations for the youth runaway helpline, and is also planning a presentation for staff members. If you’re wondering how a youth runaway helpline ties into putting an end to human trafficking, here are few unfortunate statistics to clarify that:
-According to the U.S. State Department, 50% of trafficking victims internationally are under the age of 18 and 300,000 children in the United States are at risk of becoming victims of trafficking
-Trafficked children are significantly more likely to develop mental health problems, abuse substances, engage in prostitution as adults, and either commit or be victimized by violent crimes later in life
Runaway youth are at much greater risk of becoming trafficking victims because they do not have a support system, they do not have responsible adults watching over them, and many of them have already been reported as missing. Once they are away from home, their loved ones have no way of knowing that they have become victims of this crime.
Marcella Boyd Cox has a few more words of advice on how you can become more vigilant in your Cleveland community, particularly when it comes to protecting their children. She encourages parents to stay involved with their kids, and to, “know where they are at all times, and constantly monitor their activity on the internet.” Traffickers can be doctors, neighbors, or even respected community members, and someone is always watching, whether it’s someone who sees a child heading to corner store or bus stop alone or an online predator. She also warns that, if you do suspect that someone is being trafficked or you witness something suspicious, “do not become involved.” Contact the authorities or call 888.373.7888, the hotline for the Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking.
If you’d like to bring more awareness to your own community, visit TheJadeRescueProject.com, and invite them to speak at an event in your hometown. You can find out where their next event is being held, and learn more about their mentorship program, or contact them via email at Freedom@TheJadeRescueProject.com.
In addition to her outreach work within her Cleveland community, Marcella Boyd Cox also has full-time responsibilities as the CMO for E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home, the facility manager for the Euclid location, and a licensed funeral director. She is also a parent—the mother of two—and she clearly demonstrates that her protective instinct extends beyond her immediate family, and into the community. For more information about E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home or Marcella Boyd Cox, visit www.EFBoyd.com.