We are JCAST Chicago

The Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago works to eradicate sex trafficking in the Chicagoland area through public awareness, community engagement, and advocacy at local, state and national levels. Inspired by Jewish values, we partner with interfaith and human rights groups, non-profit organizations, government officials, and law enforcement agencies.


Looking for help writing a letter to the editor? Want to hang the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Flyer? Visit our resources page for these and other resources.n.

JCAST Chicago E-News

Each month, JCAST Chicago publishes an online electronic newsletter full of upcoming events, news, information, and resources.


JCAST Chicago offers periodic programming in the Chicagoland area. See what we have coming up…

Support Us

JCAST Chicago works to eradicate sex trafficking in the Chicagoland area. Your support will allow JCAST Chicago to grow our collective voice.

JCAST Chicago Monthly Blog

Check out our monthly blog...

JCAST Chicago June 2017 Blog

I Am Jane Doe I Am Jane Doe is a film that tells the true story of a legal battle between several mothers of sex trafficking victims and Backpage.com. Two of the plaintiffs, who are identified using pseudonyms, and their families tell their story of the harrowing experiences they went through when they were trafficked, more »

22 Jun 17 info@ncjwcns.org

JCAST Chicago May Blog

Selah Freedom Selah Freedom is a national organization that offers prevention, outreach and safe housing to survivors of sex trafficking. Selah is a Hebrew word which means to pause, rest and reflect. Here in the Chicago area, Selah Freedom provides a safe residence for survivors to discover who they are, set goals and re-launch their more »

22 May 17 info@ncjwcns.org

JCAST Chicago April Blog

The Nordic Model, pioneered in Sweden, is a legislative approach to prostitution, which makes it illegal to purchase sexual services.  Under this model, the individuals who are trafficked for commercial sex are not criminalized, and are instead offered support and social services.  The aim of this model is to change society’s views of prostitution and more »

23 Apr 17 info@ncjwcns.org

International Women’s Day – JCAST Chicago March Blog

  Eva, our family’s Au Pair from Czech Republic, commented to me on March 8 about the lack of care and attention paid to women in the United States on International Women’s Day.  Eva’s experience in Europe was a day for women to be cherished for their contributions to life, motherhood, and society.  It’s a more »

20 Mar 17 info@ncjwcns.org

Through the Eyes of a Docent

JCAST Chicago February Blog At the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Educational Center, 60,000 students enter to learn every year.  Some days we have 500 people within our walls wondering what happened so many years ago when a despot was given complete control.  Dehumanizing people as commodities, a genocide enslaving a population.  To this, we say,” more »

21 Feb 17 info@ncjwcns.org

Worlds Colliding – JCAST Chicago January 2017 Blog

I am one of 500 attendees at a national nonprofit management conference for students and educators.  Days into stale coffee, too-cold rooms, and information beyond my saturation point, my world of being a professor and my world of being a sex-trafficking advocate collided. The keynote speaker declared that slavery exists around us.  Participants looked around more »

18 Jan 17 info@ncjwcns.org

Ripping Off the Band-Aid: Talking to my 12-Year-Old about Pornography

After over a decade of working for the National Council of Jewish Women, my children have suffered through many a conversation on topics ranging from civil rights to why courts matter to reproductive justice.  Add my work with the Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago to the mix and they hear about trafficking, exploitation, more »

24 Dec 16 info@ncjwcns.org

Thoughts on Women Hold up Half the Sky

I recently had the opportunity to attend the opening of a new exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.  The exhibit, entitled “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” reflects upon the struggles worldwide to achieve equality for women.  Inspired by Nicholas Kristof’s and Sheryl WuDunn’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into more »

21 Nov 16 info@ncjwcns.org

You Shall Not Be Indifferent

The statistics around sex trafficking in our local community are staggering. It is estimated that 16,000-25,000 young women and men, boys and girls in Chicago are victims each year 55% of Chicago runaways and homeless people report engaging in sex for survival The lifespan of someone who is prostituted is only seven years Force, fraud, more »

04 Nov 16 info@ncjwcns.org

Actions, Words and Gender Equality in the New Year

In recent weeks, we’ve been confronted with shocking, insulting and derogatory footage and language against women (by a presidential candidate!), and we’ve seen an outpouring of responses every which way we turn. People of all genders are deeply disturbed and offended. In a recent New York Times editorial, Frank Bruni writes “No human being — more »

27 Oct 16 info@ncjwcns.org

Kol Nidre Reflections by Rabbi Alison Abrams

I want to thank [Rabbi] Bruce [Elder] for inviting me to give a personal reflection tonight.  I say this for two reasons. The first is that it is colleagues like Bruce and congregational leadership like that of Hakafa that reminds me the ways in which our communities can be places of meaningful reflection and constructive more »

27 Oct 16 info@ncjwcns.org

September Blog: Lunch and Learn with Levi Lauer

Arranging a Lunch and Learn for a group of JCAST supporters can be an interesting experience. When the topic is SEX TRAFFICKING IN ISRAEL, one is not quite sure what to expect. When the speaker is a rabbi, the intrigue increases… On September 6th, thirty-eight JCAST supporters were introduced to an extraordinary presentation by Rabbi more »

27 Sep 16 info@ncjwcns.org

Sex Trafficking and Random Acts of Brilliance

We’ve collected items for trafficked kids on the streets. We’ve listened, we’ve learned, we’ve begun to educate and build awareness.  There’s no question that these are all important steps. Yet, it never seems to be enough to make a dent in the prison that is human sex trafficking. That feels depressing. What I find inspiring more »

22 Aug 16 info@ncjwcns.org

Thoughts on Trafficking

As a new member of the coalition, I was shocked to learn the facts and figures of sex trafficking in the country and in particular Chicago. According to the Center for Impact Research, there are 16,000 to 25,000 Chicagoland women and girls that are “sex trafficked” each year. Amy Alvaro, a human trafficking specialist of more »

23 Jul 16 info@ncjwcns.org

Selah Freedom to Open Doors in Chicago

Many people are surprised to learn that over 3000,000 American children are sold in the sex trade each year. When the founders of Selah Freedom learned this they went looking for an organization to support but found none. What began as a grassroots initiative of women from across the country to be a voice for the voiceless more »

23 Jun 16 info@ncjwcns.org

Slaves in Stilettos

I recently saw Mary Bonnett’s new play MONEY MAKE’M SMILE a play about domestic sex trafficking of youth, written for high school and college age students as well as adults. It’s a journey through youth, choice, impact of family and community. The young girl appears to be doomed from the beginning. A mother who does more »

22 May 16 info@ncjwcns.org

Kosher for Passover Food For Thought

  As our homes fill with the comforting smells of brisket and matzo ball soup, we anticipate celebrating Passover with our families and friends. We remind ourselves that we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but now we are free. Avadim hayinu. We were slaves.But even as we celebrate our journey from slavery to freedom, there more »

15 Apr 16 info@ncjwcns.org

March Blog – NCJW Washington Institute 2016:  What’s at Stake for Women

Earlier this month, 350 NCJW members and supporters from around the country including 9 members of the JCAST Chicago Steering Committee spent an amazing three days in Washington learning, advocating and raising our voices on behalf of others at Washington Institute, NCJW’s premier public policy event.  Although I have been a member of NCJW for more »

22 Mar 16 info@ncjwcns.org

Sarah’s Story

JCAST Chicago was formed by NCJW Chicago North Shore Section in 2014 when we began to learn that sex trafficking is pervasive and a form of modern day slavery.  We know that sex trafficking knows no boundaries; women (and some men) of all ethnicities and socio-economic levels are victimized and men (and some women) of more »

23 Feb 16 info@ncjwcns.org

Thoughts on Trafficking: JCAST Chicago January Blog

As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always replied in all seriousness, “I don’t know, but whatever it is, I want to be famous enough to get a day off of school named for me!” With ideas of fame and fortune well behind me and the awe more »

15 Jan 16 info@ncjwcns.org

JCAST Chicago: A brief history and 2015 Recap

Great End of Year News  JCAST Chicago is proud and thrilled to announce that we have received a 2016 continuation grant from the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.  This grant will allow JCAST Chicago to continue its work educating and raising awareness of the need to end demand and assist survivors.  We want to more »

22 Dec 15 info@ncjwcns.org

 Truck Drivers Help End Demand for Sex Trafficking

Fact #1: Truck drivers are a huge part of the demand for sex trafficking. Fact #2: Truck drivers are fighting to help end the demand for sex trafficking. Trucker Kent Kimmel was parked at a pilot truck stop in New Kent County, VA when he saw a young woman hiding behind a black-curtained RV window. more »

23 Nov 15 info@ncjwcns.org

Thoughts on Trafficking: JCAST Chicago October Blog

“More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century.” This is a quote from Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl Wu Dunn detailing the rampant, as they call it, “gendercide” occurring today in the world, in more »

15 Oct 15 info@ncjwcns.org

Apples and Honey and Human Trafficking

When I think of Rosh Hashanah, I think of community and honey cake and apple picking with my family.  I think of my children fidgeting in temple but reciting the prayers with comfort in their familiarity.  I think of round challah and noodle kugel – always sweet – with cinnamon and raisins.  But until recently, I more »

22 Sep 15 info@ncjwcns.org

2015 Cook County Trafficking Task Force Conference: Time to Take Action!

On August 6 and 7, the Cook County Trafficking Task Force held its 5th annual Human Trafficking Task Force Conference at Kent Law School. JCAST Chicago members and staff Donna Gutman, Laura Englander, Deborah Zionts, Julie Newman and Melissa Prober attended the amazing two day event which kicked off with opening remarks from Cook County more »

24 Aug 15 info@ncjwcns.org

NCJW’s Anti-Human Trafficking Roots Run Deep!

There was never a question of why National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) would engage fully and lead in the anti-human trafficking movement. It is something NCJW has been doing since 1894, one year after the establishment of NCJW. At that time, NCJW women saw the needs of immigrant Jewish girls as different from that more »

20 Jul 15 info@ncjwcns.org

Paying the Price

At least once a week, someone mistakes me for a prostitute. It started two years ago when I moved to south Tel-Aviv. At first I didn’t understand why cars were pulling up alongside me as I walked home, trailing me for a few moments and then driving away. After a few months I casually mentioned more »

15 Jul 15 info@ncjwcns.org

Trafficking Resources

National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Flyer (link) Recent News Reports Summary Page (pdf) Instructions for Sending Letters (pdf) Letter to Mayor (pdf) (doc) Letter to Police Chief (pdf) (doc) Mayor and Police Chief Addresses (pdf) (doc) Sample Letter to the Editor (doc)

10 Apr 15 info@ncjwcns.org

Passover Resources

Below are a number of Passover resources to enhance your Seder.   The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) has created an anti-trafficking Hagaddah that you can incorporate in your Seder. Click here to download a copy of The Freedom Haggadah, An Anti-trafficking Seder.   Did a slave produce the wheat for my matzah? What more »

01 Apr 15 info@ncjwcns.org