By Eric Heinz

In its third year, i-5 Freedom Network hosted the annual “Be a Big Cheese” fundraiser at The Cellar on Monday, Feb. 11, in San Clemente.

The i-5 nonprofit works to educate local businesses to look for signs of human traffickers and how to adequately report them. The organization started working with hotel managers in the area, where trafficking has been reported.

Director Brenda Wells said the organization has partnered with Guardian Group, a national anti-human trafficking organization. Robert Ramsey of Guardian Group spoke during the event.

Two life experience consultants or experts, Ebony Jones of Living Beyond and Jaimee Johnson of Sister of the Street, spoke about some of their experiences in human trafficking and how they found opportunities outside their past lives. They spoke about the importance of finding people who have been trafficked gainful employment and a way to escape their traffickers.

The event raised $15,000 with about 90 people in attendance for the i-5 Freedom Network to continue its goals of educating businesses and creating partnerships. For more information, visit i5freedomnetwork.org.

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