Alert Issued For Columbus's LGBTQ Community

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN)--A local LGBTQ advocacy group has issued a community alert ahead of this weekend's Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus.

The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, or BRAVO, issued the alert, citing the increased possibility of violence throughout the run of "The Arnold."

BRAVO Interim Director Aaron Eckhardt says this weekend also brings an increase in human trafficking and violence, with thousands visiting the city.

"We issued one last year as well, because we know that with this influx of people, and also historically, during this particular weekend there is an increase in human trafficking and potentially other hate and bias violence with so many people around," Eckhardt said.

Eckhardt also mentioned this weekend is the two-year anniversary of the disappearance of Joey LaBute, who was later found dead, and his death is still an unsolved homicide.

The organization encourages community members to be aware of their surroundings, and to avoid walking alone, especially in the alleys and less-populated areas.

BRAVO will also have advocates at many of the city's LGBT bars this weekend to inform patrons about their rights, and issue tips on how to stay safe.

Eckhardt adds that violence against the community is never their fault.

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