Citizens for Community Value’s President Aaron Baer and City Light Church Pastor George Williams held a press conference along with Toledo-area residents who live and work in the red light district. They had hoped to announce a sexually-oriented business operating illegally in their midst was being forced to close. Unfortunately, their pleas have fallen on mostly deaf ears. A daycare owner located near the strip club said the city officials are contributing to human trafficking.
Patricia Urbina-Alcid owns a daycare near the strip club. In the press conference, she declared, “This area of town is known for human trafficking. I believe that with the city of Toledo not following their policies and their ordinances that they, in fact, have created, that they are contributing to that [human trafficking].”
Based upon data collected by the Human Trafficking Hotline, Toledo is in the top twenty cities, on a per capita basis, for both number of “substantive” calls to the hotline and number of trafficking cases. “Substantive” is defined as, “Calls [that] do not include hang-ups, missed calls, wrong numbers, and calls in which the caller’s reason for calling is unknown.”
Baer kicked off the press event declaring City Light Church to be living out Micah 6:8 in the area not normally filled with houses of worship.
Micah 6:8 states,
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love [c]kindness,
And to walk [d]humbly with your God?”
City Light Church intentionally chose to reside in the neighborhood to share the love of Jesus with residents. Baer explained the church is simply asking for the law to be upheld there. They want the city to shut down the illegally operating strip club Black Diamond.
Baer explained CCV’s involvement, “We work with churches and community leaders all over the state to advocate for public policy that reflects the truth of the Gospel and empower the church to be a voice for righteousness in their community.”
CCV’s President expressed his frustration that meetings with city leaders did not have the results the church had hoped. “The police have done their job, the community has done their job, but the city continues to resist to do their job,” Baer stated.
Pastor Williams spoke to the press. “Our community here is wanting to thrive. We’re here. We believe in our community. We love the 43612 neighborhood. The neighbors are here [at the press conference],” he stated, pointing to the group of people gathered behind him.
“We believe that this is a family area. There are family-oriented businesses that want to thrive here, that are thriving here,” Williams said. “Our city has created laws to protect family-oriented businesses to not have sexually-oriented right in the middle of that.”
Williams notified the city immediately when the Black Diamond opened in March. To date, one letter was sent by the city to the property owner, in spite of numerous known liquor violations and a violation of the law against touching nude dancers. The strip club is also in violation of several city ordinances, including a law that prohibits a club to open near a similar venue. Another club sits across the street.
ABC 13‘s investigative unit has been on the case. They spoke to the city councilman who represents the neighborhood, Chris Delaney. He agreed the city has not acted quickly enough and vows to look into the situation. The reporter asked Delaney about the delays. He responded, “You know that’s unfortunate and unfair, but I can’t say it’s completely unusual.” According to the news station, Delaney said the issue was overlooked and the response from the city was unacceptable.
At the end of the event, Baer stated, “I just cannot highlight enough what’s become very clear: the police have done their job, the community has very clearly done their job, and now we’re just calling on the city to do their job. And enough is enough.”
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Photo “Press Conference” by Citizens for Community Values.