March 2018
JCAST Chicago March Blog


Last week, I participated in two breakout sessions on Human Trafficking sponsored by the N.I.S Women of the E.L.C.A. (W.E.L.C.A.) as part of the Northern Illinois Synod (N.I.S.), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, (E.L.C.A.) Congregational Resourcing Event at Kiswaukee College in Malta Illinois. Conference attendees of almost 400 traveled from throughout Northern Illinois. I was one of eight speakers including professors from three area colleges and other religious leaders including an Amman. I did not travel alone; our Traffick Teens, life size cardboard figures with short real life stories of trafficking, kept me company and were placed prominently throughout the building.

After the second breakout session, a woman approached me. After we briefly discussed the importance and difficulty of speaking about sex trafficking with our children, she told me she was raped as a sixteen year old and had not shared this information with anyone before, even her husband. We talked about how much it continued to affect her and the importance of seeking help.

While, the #MeToo movement is gaining momentum, this experience showed me how many are still living in its shadow. JCAST Chicago is focused on changing our culture of objectifying women and advocating for more services to support women and girls who have experienced trafficking and other forms of gender based violence. Only, together can we successfully demand and create this new society.

~ Gayle Nelson, JCAST Chicago Engagement and Development Director

For previous blog posts, visit
Upcoming Events*

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.

Matzo Topping, Education and Advocacy
Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 6:00-8:00PM
Highland Park location sent upon registration
Trash the leftovers and try matzo with something new! Passover is our story of slavery. Learn about the 16,000 and 25,000 American born teens caught in sex trafficking bondage today. Trash the leftover s and join JCAST Chicago, NCJW North Shore, and NA-AMAT for this fun and tasty evening.   

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.  

This year, become an upstander and combat sex trafficking in our community. For more information, visit our website: or email

Thursday, March 22nd 
Committee Meeting: Why Legalizing Prostitution Promotes Sex Trafficking 
complimentary lunch at 11:30am and program at noon
DePaul University College of Law, Room 241
Hear experts Jody Raphael, a DePaul Senior Research Fellow, and Kaethe Morris Hoffer, the Executive Director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, discuss Professor Raphael's newly published article: Decriminalization of Prostitution: The Soros Effect
Approved for up to 1.5 hours of general CLE. To attend, please RSVP to Katie Liss,

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

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!)
hand sanitizer
hand lotion
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
dove 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  with names and contacts at synagogues, chavurot, and other Jewish organizations. 
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 links that may be of interest.
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.

Steering Committee
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

Steering Committee:
Ronna Ash, Hadassah
Susan Block, Hadassah
Cathy Carmody, NCJW
Donna Gutman, NCJW, ICJW, CEASE Network 
Sara Kalish, Fiedler Hillel at        
        Northwestern University
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

Reclaim 13
Reclaim 13, also known as Compassionate Communities for Children, is one of the few programs with a residential home, Cherished House, serving child sex trafficking survivors.

Started by Dr. Cassandra Ma and located in DuPage County, Reclaim 13 is dedicated to reclaiming thirteen, the average age children, mainly girls, are first sex trafficked. In addition to its residential home, the organization offers prevention and awareness programs in schools and a coalition of churches. 

For more information view their website at:

Take Action
Take Action!

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. 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. 

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.  Click here  for a link to the website.

Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago
847-853-8889 *

JCAST Chicago was initiated in 2014 by the National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore