JCAST Chicago Releases new Resource to Combat Sex Trafficking
The Jewish Community Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago is excited to release a new white paper to assist organizations and communities in combating sex trafficking. We released the document on September 26th during the holiday of Sukkot. During Sukkot, Jews build sukkot or shelters. We recognize individuals experiencing sex trafficking are often kicked out of their homes or leave home to escape violence and other abuse, and become homeless. JCAST Chicago, in an effort to provide support (“shelter”) to survivors, calls on government and community leaders to work with us to combat sex trafficking and create more services, including housing, for those escaping sex trafficking.
We are focusing on the Evanston area as a pilot community to build public awareness, reach out to elected officials, and explore the outcomes of legislation used in other parts of the country. Because Evanston and Skokie areas are convenient for men living in the City and the North Shore, many traffickers set up in Evanston. Additionally, there are many Evanston resources and leaders who support these efforts. Finally, because Evanston borders Chicago, we hope our efforts can also prevent sex trafficking activities in the Northern part of Chicago.
This resource sprang from our successful forum for Evanston and Skokie nonprofit and government leaders in January of 2018. The event commemorated sex trafficking awareness month and was planned with the YWCA of Evanston/Northshore, North Shore (IL) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated, and the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE). The half day forum welcomed a capacity crowd of social service and government leaders to build awareness and explore how their work is connected to combating sex trafficking. Together we increased our knowledge of sex trafficking and strengthened the movement’s momentum.
During the summer, the conversation continued as JCAST Chicago and Links leaders met with Illinois State Representative Robyn Gabel. During the meeting, we discussed the importance of combating sex trafficking and potential next steps. Rep. Gabel asked for a summary of legislation in Illinois and across the country. Her request led to the production of this white paper. The white paper explores efforts to combat sex trafficking by regulating businesses used to promote or further sex trafficking activities including massage parlors, hotels, and other legal businesses. It also examines improvements to safe harbor laws supporting individuals fleeing sex trafficking.
We welcome your efforts to distribute this white paper widely and opportunities to partner to further combat this form of modern day slavery.