Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago

2015 Cook County Trafficking Task Force Conference: Time to Take Action!  - Contributors: Melissa Prober, Julie Newman and Laura Englander

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 State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and Zac Fardon, US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

The first plenary session featured Rachel Lloyd, Founder and Executive Director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, (GEMS). Ms. Lloyd's talk suggested we re-focus our thoughts and our energies. The real face of trafficking is so much more than the image of the young child trapped in a cage. It's also the 16-year-old runaway and the 25-year-old single mother and the 35-year-old drug addict. All victims of sex trafficking. Victims of sex trafficking do not have to be chained to a bed to feel like they can't leave and you don't have to be from another country to feel like you don't have options in this country.

Toiletry Collection Drive for DreamCatcher

When DreamCatcher volunteers go out to do street outreach looking for trafficking victims and at-risk youth, they distribute toiletries and other items. Right now, they are dangerously low on supplies.  Please also consider donating some of the items on the list below.  Please note, all items must be UNOPENED and UNUSED.  Collection sites are listed below.

Toothbrushes  Small Toothpaste Small Hand Sanitizer
Small Lotion Small Packs of Tissues $5 McDonald Gift Cards (or similar)
Full-Size Shampoo Full-Size Liquid Soap
Full-Size Dove Soap
Full-Size Lotion
Deodorant Body Spray
Drop off your donations by September 15 at the following locations:
Encore & More
1107 Central Ave
Wilmette, IL
M-S 10am-5pm
1624 Sequoia Trail
Glenview, IL
(collection box by  front door)
1081 Sheridan Road
Highland Park, IL
(collection box near the mailbox)
More drop-off sites are being added.  If you need more information please email

*** We are in need of a Chicago drop off location.  If your office or home might be available, please contact for more information and to volunteer.
Upcoming Events in the Chicago Metro Area 

Run, jog, walk, or stroll and take a stand against human trafficking! Run for change on behalf of the 16,000 - 25,000 women and girls that are involved in the commercial sex trade right here in Chicago at Traffick Free's 5K.   Click here for more information and to register.

Temple Jeremiah, 937 Happ Road, Northfield
Join us for an information and education program covering an overview of immigration: Federal laws, definition of immigrants and refugees, how people come to the United States, special concerns about women and children, and the connection of immigration to sex trafficking.  Presented by Amy Stern, JD, and co-sponsored by NCJW Chicago North Shore and Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking Chicago.  For more information, call 847-853-8889 or email

The Bagel Restaurant, Old Orchard Center, Skokie
Join JCAST Chicago for a coalition meeting.  JCAST Chicago will provide updates, share what they are doing, present goals for 2015-2016 and get feedback.  Click here to RSVP.

Temple Sholom, 3480 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
What does the Torah teach us a  bout sex trafficking in Jewish history? Join fellow scholars for a provocative session of discussion and discovery  with Rabbi Shoshanah Conover.  Free parking is available. Bring a bag lunch; drinks and dessert will be provided. Click here to RSVP.

Fighting Sex Trafficking: The Jewish Community Takes a Stand
December 2, 2015; 6:45 pm  - 9:00 pm; 
Temple Beth Israel, 3601 Dempster St, Skokie
Join JCAST Chicago for an informative evening featuring Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Executive Director of CAASE and others. Visit or email for more information as it becomes available.
Sex Trafficking: Why Definitions Matter

The following information is from Shared Hope International:
Defining a child as a victim of sex trafficking rather than a prostitute results in a radically different response. Federal law defines any minor used in the commercial sex industry as a victim of child sex trafficking-regardless of the presence or control of a pimp/trafficker. However, some states and agencies continue to require an identified trafficker in order to respond to an exploited youth as a trafficking victim. This is a problem because:
    * A child mislabeled as a "prostitute" is re-victimized and stigmatized
    * Access to justice against buyers and traffickers is hindered
    * Restorative services available only to sex trafficking victims may be unavailable
    * The buyer who pays to exploit a child may face less serious charges and penalties

Let policy makers know you care! Join us today by flooding social media with the message that all commercially sexually exploited children are sex trafficking victims and should have access to appropriate services and justice! Click here for more information from Shared Hope as well as ways to automatically share thier message or choose from the suggested options to create a custom message. 
Trafficked Teens™ Update &  DreamCatcher

Have you had a chance to see Dreamcatcher, the award-winning documentary which focuses on Brenda Myers-Powell, a former prostitute who currently runs the Dreamcatcher Foundation, a charity which helps women in Chicago leave the sex industry. Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights and other organizations are sponsoring a screening on Sunday, September 27 at 7:00 pm at the Metropolis Theatre, 111 W. Campbell in Arlington Heights. Suggested ticket donation is $20 per person. Click here to reserve your spot.

After attending the February trafficking conference in the city, Liz McKay of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights learned of NCJW's Trafficked Teens™ and borrowed them for a weekend to raise awareness and funds for sponsorship of the Dreamcatcher screening. As a result, Our Savior's Lutheran Church was able to meet their fundraising goal and is able to sponsor the Dreamcatcher screening. They would like to welcome anyone interested in attending. The Trafficked Teens™ will be on display at the screening.

"Trafficked Teens™ helped us tell the human trafficking story to our congregation. Having one with me when I gave a briefpresentation made a big impact on my audience. "They" also attended our coffee hour where people got to read their stories. Thank you for letting them travel to Arlington Heights. Our community was richer for them!" - Liz McKay, Our Saviour's Lutheran Church
JCAST Chicago Updates

New Illinois law raises awareness of human trafficking at truck stops,  By  Tyson Fisher , Land Line staff writer
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law two bills that address human trafficking. One bill, SB43, will ensure public awareness of a national hotline, which will be displayed at truck stops and rest areas across the state.

"We have long since said that the trucking and transportation industries can play a critical role in combating human trafficking," Kylla Lanier, Truckers Against Trafficking deputy director, told Land Line."The posting of the national hotline at ports of entry, at truck stops, bus stations, train stations and the like are a great way to raise awareness about the help that is out there."   Click here for the full article.

Unanimous Support in the Illinois House for Illinois SB
There was unanimous support in the Illinois House of Representatives for CAASE's (Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation) most recent bill, Illinois SB 1588, creating an affirmative defense for trafficked survivors. The bill was passed and signed by the Governor in July 2015. Please reach out to your State Representative and to Governor Bruce Rauner to thank them for their support!

National Human Trafficking Resource Center Statistics
Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that occurs in every state, including Illinois. The NHTRC works closely with service providers, law enforcement, and other professionals in Illinois to serve victims and survivors of trafficking, respond to human trafficking cases, and share information and resources. 
Click here to learn more about human trafficking in Illinois by browsing hotline statistics and resources.

Six Laws in Six Years
Since 2010, the End Demand Illinois Campaign has worked tirelessly to get laws passed which fight human trafficking and support victims and survivors.  This year, End Demand Illinois passed its 6th law in 6 years!  Click here to see the laws that End Demand has helped pass since 2010!
Sex Trafficking in the News
More and more our news feeds are filled with stories about sex trafficking - some positive and some negative.  Here are a few article links that may be of interest.

Visit the JCAST Chicago website, to become a JCAST Chicago members.  Individual and organizational memberships are available and well as organizational partnerships.

You can also visit our website to join one of our Action Teams at   We need your voice and your help to make JCAST Chicago a successful coalition.



URI North America (United Religions Initiative) has some wonderful resources on sex trafficking available. Click here
to visit their website.


youthSpark works to end child sex trafficking through prevention, early intervention, and youth-empowered education. youthSpark has produced PSAs with tips on how to talk to youth about trafficking. Click here to view.

8 Facts About the U.S. Sex Economy, a study published by the URBAN Institute discusses the underground economies of sex, drugs, and guns in eight cities: Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.   Click here for the study, and click here for an article about the study in the Atlantic magazine.

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. Click here for a link to the website.

Take Action

Take Action

Here are some things you can do today to take action against Sex Trafficking:

* Like our Facebook Page
Click here to like us on Facebook
* Follow us on Twitter
Click here to follow us on Twitter

* Sign up for Action Alerts
Visit our website to keep up-to-date with the issues most relevant to you.  Sign up 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.

Support JCAST Chicago

Click here to donate to JCAST to help subsidize the cost of Dignity Bags or our other projects.  Please indicate on the form where you'd like the donation to be directed - i.e., JCAST Chicago.  Thank you for your support.

Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago