Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago
JCAST Chicago Meeting Recap
On March 11,  JCAST Chicago members and friends gathered for a fabulous community service program... packing Dignity Bags for girls on the streets of Chicago. In total, over 100 Dignity Bags were packed for Brenda Myers-Powell from the Dreamcatcher Foundation to hand out to girls on the street that are being trafficked. In addition, over 10 large boxes of toiletries were provided to Dreamcatcher to be given to girls that are at risk for being prostituted. Brenda commented that no group or organization has done this type of project for Dreamcatcher before!

Special thanks to Hadassah Chicago-North Shore for their hospitality in hosting the event, Ross's in Highland Park for their generous donation of toiletries, and CVS in Evanston for their gift card and donation of tote bags and accessories... in addition to numerous donations from our generous volunteers and supporters!
Dreamcatcher Documentary
Brenda Myers-Powell is the subject of a Sundance award winning documentary called Dreamcatcher.  Dreamcatcher is a vivid portrait of Brenda Myers-Powell, a former prostitute, who helps women and young girls break the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation. The film lays bare the hidden violence that devastates the lives of young women, their families and the communities where they live. It's through Brenda's unflinching intervention with desperate women, that we see them regain a sense of hope. Brenda's own story of getting out of the life becomes their inspiration to turn their lives around.  JCAST Chicago plans to organize a viewing of this amazing film sometime in the future.  Click here to view the Dreamcatcher Trailer.
Dreamcatcher is also being shown on Showtime.  Click here for viewing information.
Human Trafficking Panel Discussion 
Thursday, March 26, 2015; 3:00pm - 5:00pm
YWCA Lake County, 1425 Tri-State Parkway Suite 180, Gurnee, IL 60031, 847-662-4247
Join the YWCA Lake County for an important and informative discussion on Human Trafficking
Featuring esteemed panelists from:
Admission is free.   Click here to reserve your spot.
Anti-Trafficking Bill
What was originally a bipartisan bill supporting trafficking survivors has now turned into a Congressional traffic jam.  The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), S 178, includes some important provisions to increase law enforcement resources and services for trafficking survivors. Yet, this bill that aims to help trafficking survivors, most of whom are women, also contains a provision that mimics the Hyde Amendment ban on abortion coverage. The  Hyde Amendment language bans abortion coverage for survivors of trafficking. Human trafficking happens every day, everywhere.  Banning abortion coverage would interfere in a trafficking survivor's ability to make her own decision about her body, health, and future - further eroding her autonomy. 

Contact your Senators and urge them to  put people before politics. Call on them to support survivors and pass bipartisan legislation to combat human trafficking free from restrictions.

To contact members of Congress, call the U.S. Capital Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your senators' and/or representative's office or search online for your Congresspersons contact information at www.congress.gov/members.
Host a JCAST Chicago Book Salon
A Book Salon is a great way for JCAST Members and supporters to get more involved and active. Reading a book about sex trafficking with a group is an excellent way to raise awareness about the issue.  Bodies and Souls, by Isabel Vincent, is a fascinating look into a hidden chapter in history.  In the second half of the nineteenth century, several thousand impoverished young Jewish women from Eastern Europe were forced into prostitution in the frontier colonies of Latin America, South Africa, India, and parts of the United States by the Zwi Migdal, a notorious criminal gang of Jewish mobsters. Isabel Vincent tells the remarkable true story of three such women -Sophia Chamys, Rachel Liberman, and Rebecca Freedman - who, like so many others, were desperate to escape a hopeless future in Europe's teeming urban ghettos and rural shtetls. 

Email info@jcastchicago.org if you would be interesting in hosting or participating in a Book Salon on Bodies and Souls or a similar book.

In February, several JCAST Chicago members met with State Senator Julie Morrison to discuss sex trafficking.  If you would like an opportunity to meet with your Illinois Representative or Senator, email info@jcastchicago.org and we we try to arrange a meeting.

Click here to watch this powerful video from We Were Slaves: The Jewish Community Unites Against Sex Trafficking, a short film produced by UJA-Federation which explores the effects of Sex Trafficking and offers ways to stop it.
Volunteer Opportunities
Take your involvement to the next level and join a JCAST Chicago Action Team.  Click here for a volunteer form.


Resources

 

EXODUS: NCJW's Anti-Sex Trafficking Initiative aims to create important social change through supporting the passage and enforcement of state and federal laws that prevent sex trafficking, protect its victims and survivors, and punish its perpetrators.  EXODUS has various materials ranging from tool kits, talking points and fact sheets.   www.ncjw.org/trafficking.

Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) has a variety of resources including the Engaging Jewish Communities in Ending Sexual Exploitation Toolkit and resources for parents, teachers, students, mental health professionals and others.   www.CAASE.org/toolkits.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national anti-trafficking hotline and resource center serving victims and survivors of human trafficking and the anti-trafficking community in the United States.  The NHTRC has a searchable resource directory.   www.traffickingresourcecenter.org

The  Polaris Project serves victims of human trafficking as well as works to create long-term solutions that affect systemic and social change. Visit their website for information and action alerts.

Take Action

Take Action

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

* 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! www.ncjwcns.org/jcast.

* 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: www.ncjwcns.org/st-resources.

* 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! For more information and to receive flyers, please visit www.ncjwcns.org/st-resources for a link.


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