Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago
My 25 years as a prostitute: Brenda Myers-Powell

"Brenda Myers-Powell was just a child when she became a prostitute in the early 1970s. Here she describes how she was pulled into working on the streets and why, three decades later, she devoted her life to making sure other girls don't fall into the same trap. Some people will find Brenda's account upsetting."
MasterCard stops doing business with

"Under pressure from the sheriff of the second largest county in the USA, MasterCard announced on Tuesday that it will cease doing business with the online classified portal Backpage .com.

The web site has long been the target of politicians and law enforcement officials, who charge that the site has provided a cloak of anonymity for pimps and provided unnecessary ease for johns who use the site to arrange meetings with prostitutes."

Military vets find new mission: stopping child predators

"Fresh from the battlefields of Afghanistan, three former soldiers from South Florida who once targeted Taliban fighters are learning computer forensic skills to help law enforcement agencies track down pedophiles and sex traffickers.

To these cyber warriors, the new mission is much like their battles overseas: it's all about bringing down "bad guys."

"Over there, we were dealing with bad guys in Afghanistan. Now we're going to be putting away bad guys in this country, which is more important to me," said Kevin Droddy, 31, a former infantryman from West Palm Beach."

JCAST Chicago Blog


NCJW's Anti-Human Trafficking Roots Run Deep! 

by Carole Levine 

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 of other immigrants. And NCJW sought to protect its immigrant Jewish daughters. According to author Faith Rogow, in her history of NCJW's first 100 years, NCJW determined that the greatest threat to female immigrants was the white slave trade. It was an often covered up fact that in the late 1800's and beyond, the white slave trade was often led by Jews. One source estimated that half of the prostitutes on Chicago's West Side in the early 1900s were Jewish. 

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Upcoming Events in the Chicago Metro Area 

For information, visit

JCAST Chicago Legislative Updates

Join JCAST Chicago and the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) for a legislative update provided by CAASE Policy Director Lynne Johnson! As CAASE's Policy Director, Lynne leads the End Demand Illinois statewide campaign. $10 covers light refreshments and food gift cards for sex trafficked survivors. Click the date below to RSVP.

City Location:

July 29; 12 - 1 pm:

JUF, 30 S. Wells Street, Room 3133
***Attendees may bring in food and drinks. Please reserve your spot by July 22 so you name can be provided to building security personnel.

Suburban location:

July 30; 10:30 - 11:30 am:

Curt's Cafe, 2922 Central St, Evanston 


Immigration Lunch and Learn

October 1, 11:30-1:20: Temple Jeremiah, 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

No Such Thing as a Child Prostitute:
A Prospective from the Bench

"I first met Rebecca when she was 14 and arrested for prostitution. Although most youth offenders charged with non-violent crimes remain at home while on probation, that wasn't an option for Rebecca. Both of her parents had substance abuse problems and lengthy prison records. Her grandfather tried his best with her, but a sick man in his 80's was no match for this street-smart teenager. Over the next few years, until she "aged out" of the system, I treated her like any other kid on probation, put her in custody when she didn't follow the rules, offered her counseling, encouraged her to go to school, but none of that helped her. I slowly learned about the reality of her life: her pimp expected her to return to him as soon as she was released from custody. She risked extreme violence if she did not report back to him as soon as she was free; the burn scars on her chest attested to that. On one occasion, he actually waited outside the courthouse to claim his property as soon as I took her off of electronic monitoring. She was his favorite, most lucrative girl and he vowed to find her anywhere. When I sent her to a safe haven in Phoenix, he picked her up within 2 days and put her back on the streets of Los Angeles within hours."
Child Victims of Sex Trafficking Are Being Exploited in America's Hotels

"ECPAT-USA's new Public Service Announcement and campaign, "Does Your Hotel Know?", calls on hotels and travelers to learn the signs of sex trafficking and take action.

"Sex trafficking victims - including children - are often bought and sold in hotel rooms and exploited in prostitution, ranging from budget properties to luxury resorts. Service providers and law enforcement agencies report that nearly all victims they come in contact with have been exploited in hotels. A trafficker may run their business out of a hotel room, putting employees in a unique position to identify victims and alert authorities. From checkin to checkout there are a number of indicators victims and traffickers exhibit during the time they are on a hotel property."
Children for Sale: 
The Fight to End Human Trafficking 
Tuesday, July 21 at 9pm ET/PT  on CNN, CNN International and via  CNNgo .

"In a CNN Special Report,  actress and long-time advocate Jada Pinkett Smith  travels to Atlanta - a trafficking hotspot - to try and unravel the complicated web of human trafficking that's happening right here in the United States. The hour-long special report is a gritty, raw look at the human trafficking industry in the United States, the lives of children caught in its web, and those fighting back against this form of modern-day slavery."
JCAST Chicago Updates

U.S. Senators Concerned Over Malaysia Human-Trafficking Rating

Nineteen U.S. senators, including Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday expressing "grave concern" that Malaysia may be upgraded in this year's U.S. list of human trafficking offenders.


"A premature upgrade of Malaysia would undermine the integrity of the TIP (Trafficking in Persons) report process and compromise our international efforts to fight human trafficking," they said in the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

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U.S. Poised to Upgrade Cuba in Annual Human Trafficking Report

The United States is set to remove Cuba from the list of worst offenders in failing to suppress human trafficking and forced labour, U.S. sources said, removing a longstanding irritant between the former Cold War foes at a time of détente.

The upgrade would lift Cuba to the so-called "Tier 2 Watch List" in the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons report from Tier 3, the lowest rank where it has languished for 12 years due to allegations of sex trafficking and forced labour. 


Send a Letter - 10,000 Supporters Needed!

Ask your members of Congress to cosponsor legislation to protect youth today.  In communities across the U.S., homeless and runaway youths are at greater risk for sexual exploitation and trafficking. Reauthorizing the bipartisan Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act would help provide critical updates to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, which expired in September 2013. New measures include increasing the range of family intervention and reunification services offered and improving services for youths who have been victims of human trafficking or sexual exploitation. Click here to take part and take action.


World's largest charity launches anti-slavery center

United Way Worldwide, the world's largest charity, has launched a center to combat modern-day slavery and is pushing to make the eradication of human trafficking a priority for the next U.S. president.

Mara Vanderslice Kelly, the center's executive director, said she wants every U.S. presidential candidate to answer the question of how much money they would put towards ending trafficking.

While there is an impressive number of organizations working to stop slavery, they are vastly under-resourced, something that must change to make a real difference, she said. 

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.

JCAST Chicago has a new website: Check it out and become an inaugural member of JCAST Chicago. First year is free!! Also sign up 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