JCAST Chicago April Blog
JCAST Celebrates FOSTA-SESTA
On April 11, the President signed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA) after both Congressional chambers overwhelmingly passed the critical legislation. This rare bipartisan effort will combat known sex trafficking activity online particularly of minors and is due to advocacy activities of so many including many JCAST Chicago supporters who contacted their legislative officials.
FOSTA-SESTA creates a new cause of action (both criminal and civil) against online websites, such as Backpage.com, that are a hub for the sale of minors, mostly young women, online. Mothers and women themselves are now able to sue these sites for the revenue the sites received through the knowing exploitation of youth. Many of those advertised online were abused as children. These suits were described in the movie I am Jane Doe shown by JCAST Chicago at the Northbrook Library in January. The law also creates a criminal cause of action. This landmark legislation will limit pimps and traffickers ability to sell women and will deter men from buying sex. For example, immediately after passage of the legislation, Carl Ferrer pled guilty to activities associated with Backpage and agreed to testify against others others associated with online trafficking websites.
In the days following Congressional activities passing SESTA-FOSTA a number of websites, such as Craigslist, Cityvibe, Reddit, Erotic Review, immediately closed the sections of their sites - or the whole site - where sex was sold. JCAST Chicago is working with allies to continue this effort to combat the exploitation of young women and men by pimps and traffickers in Chicago and across the world.
~ Gayle Nelson, JCAST Chicago Engagement and Development Director
In 2018, The Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago is planning many great events to foster awareness and combat sex trafficking in the Chicagoland area. Please add these events to your calendar and share them with your neighbors and friends.
Let's Talk About Girls: Sexuality and Consent in the age of the internet and #MeToo
Sunday, April 22, 2018 4:00-5:30PM
North Shore Congregation Israel, 1185 Sheridan, Glencoe
Kids are growing up in a world very different than previous generations. Pornography is at their fingertips (90% of kids ages 8-16 have seen pornography online) and "hooking up" is perceived as the norm. This program will help adults understand the risks kids face, and the opportunities we as parents and grandparents have to impact girls' development through appropriate (sometimes uncomfortable) conversations with our daughters about sexuality and relationships. JCAST Chicago is excited to partner with Tracey Kite, LCSW, of Jewish Child and Family Services, National Council of Jewish Women Northshore, and North Shore Congregation Israel to provide this new program.
Saturday, April 28th 10am-12pm
Plant a Garden at Selah Freedom House -
Donations and volunteers needed to help clean up the garden and plant vegetables at the Selah Freedom House in the Winnetka/Glenview area! The Selah Freedom House provides safe housing for trafficking victims. The amount of volunteers will be limited, so please email
as soon as possible.
*Please note that not all of these events are sponsored or hosted by JCAST Chicago but are listed here as a convenience to those who might be interested.
Toiletry and Gift Card Donations Needed Year-round to support young women trafficked in Chicago that are helped by the Dreamcatcher Foundation.
Donation Drop off locations:
Encore & More: 1107 Central Ave, Wilmette
Hadassah Thrift Shop, 405 Lake Cook Rd, Deerfield
Hadassah Office, 60 Revere Dr #800, Northbrook
Temple Sholom, 3480 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago
If you or your organization would consider organizing a collection drive or a packing program, please contact Donna Fishman at email@example.com.
Street Dignity Bag Packing List:
These items are needed in small, travel sizes. One of each item will be packed in a gallon ziploc "street survival" bag. These items may be packed in ziploc or other small tote bag, or donated in bulk. ( You might even Ask your local businesses if they have items to donate and share this list.)
toothbrush and toothpaste (*ask your dentist!)
granola or power bar
pack of tissues
Gallon Ziploc Bags
$5 McDonald's Gift Cards
Prevention Bag Packing List:
The Dreamcatcher Foundation regularly visits girls living in at-risk communities, including teen-aged single mothers. These items may be packed in a tote bag and donated in bulk.
liquid body soap
lotion or moisturizer
perfumed body spray
Gift or tote bags
*Bulk items, hotel toiletries and gift cards to McDonalds ($5), Target, Dollar Store, CVS or Walgreens (any amount) are always welcome*
JCAST Chicago on the Move
JCAST Chicago has been busy giving presentations across the Chicago Metropolitan area, for Jewish and secular groups. Please help JCAST Chicago secure speaking "gigs" at Jewish organizations. Contact Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org
with names and contacts at synagogues, chavurot, and other Jewish organizations.
Ensure there is a Chicago Jewish voice against sex trafficking and that we are able to continue our important work throughout 2018 and beyond. Make your gift on our secure website.
JCAST Chicago is governed by a Steering Committee of dedicated individuals. If you would be interested in serving on the steering committee or one of our Action Teams, email
Steering Committee Co-Chairs:
Donna Fishman, NCJW
Susan Rifas, JUF, JWF
Ronna Ash, Hadassah
Susan Block, Hadassah
Cathy Carmody, NCJW
Donna Gutman, NCJW, ICJW, CEASE Network
Fiedler Hillel at
Betsy Lazerow, JCFS, JCARES
Rae Luskin, NCJW
Sherry Petlin, NCJW
Bonnie Ribet, NCJW
Heather Ross, NCJW, Hakafa
Stacy Saef, NCJW
Joan Zahnle, NCJW CNS
Rochel Ray & Samantha Spolter, SHALVA
Gayle Nelson, Engagement and Development Director
of the Month
A Safe Place
A Safe Place offers residents of Lake County domestic violence services including a 24hour/7 day a week hotline. The organization's programs include emergency, transitional and affordable housing assistance for individuals and families and court advocacy and counseling. All programs are provided in Spanish as well as English. A Safe Place and JCAST Chicago are members of The Safer Lake County Coalition.
A Safe Place provides educational programs for adults and youth including boys experiencing abuse. Interactive classroom programs offered by A Safe Place's prevention education staff educate teens about the underlying dynamics of dating violence and domestic violence, and how to help peers in an abusive relationship.
Programs for boys experiencing abuse help to prevent abuse and domestic violence continuing in the next generation. There is also a mentoring program to model appropriate, non-abusive ways of interacting with others for boys ages 8-14.
For more information, visit their website.
Here are some things you can do today to take action against Sex Trafficking:
* Sign up for Action Alerts
Visit our website
to keep up-todate with the issues most relevant to you.
for JCAST Chicago, NCJW or Sex Trafficking Action Alerts today!
* Send a Letter
Send a letter calling on local leaders and law enforcement to enforce laws and end demand.
Visit our website
to print out constructions and a sample letter.
* Hang a Flyer
Victims may visit bus stations, grocery stores, currency exchanges, and gas stations. Hang a poster featuring the hotline for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. and help them escape to safety!
Visit our website
for more information and to print flyers.
* Write a Letter to the Editor
Write a letter to the editor when you learn publicly about arrests of perpetrators of sex trafficking. Commending the media, the police departments involved, and local authorities keeps sex trafficking in the news and encourages more enforcement.
Visit our website
for a sample letter to the editor.
Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara
Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World where Girls are not for Sale by Rachel Lloyd
The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy it by Victor Malarek
The Natashas: Inside the Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek
Women Hold up Half the Sky: Turing Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Sheryl Wudunn and Nicholas Kristof
IN PLAIN SIGHT Podcast
to End Human Trafficking Each week, the IN PLAIN SIGHT Podcast features a an inspiring speaker who may educate you in your work to end human trafficking around the globe.
for a link to the website.