Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago
JCAST Chicago Public Policy Updates

Alderman Burke's Strip Club Proposal Defeated
From our friends at CAASE (Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Executive Director): I know you've all seen the news of our success in the Chicago city council, but I just wanted to say a slightly more personal thanks for your efforts to help defeat Alderman Burke's proposal. We are confident that we narrowly dodged a bullet. If it hadn't been for the calls, posts, and outreach that our allies made over the last few days, Chicago would have become much friendlier to the sex industry, and much more hostile to the girls and women it consumes. Click here for more on the story.

Congress Passes Historic Trafficking Bill!
On April 22, the US Senate unanimously passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which expands law enforcement tools to target sex traffickers and creates a new fund to help victims. The House has passed similar legislation and the White House has voiced support. Read the full summary of the bill here.
NCJW Washington DC Leader's Retreat
At Senator Kirk's Office
On Tuesday, May 5, a delegation of 7 NCJW members visited in DC with staff of Senators Kirk and Durbin. One of the issues we discussed was the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act . We made these points in asking for the senators' support:
At Senator Durbin's Office

Runaway and homeless youth are especially vulnerable to becoming victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Research has shown that runaway and homeless youth in the US are at heightened risk of sex and labor trafficking because they lack access to shelter, food, and personal connections - and traffickers prey on this vulnerability. Further, 28% of youth living on the street trade sex for basic needs such as food or shelter. The National Center for Missing and Endangered Children estimates that between 2009-2013, 12 percent, or roughly 7,000, of missing child cases reported were likely child sex trafficking victims.

The current Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs prevent displaced youth from falling victim to human trafficking and provide services to survivors. Each year, 25,000 youth find shelter through the RHYA's Street Outreach Program. RHYA's Basic Center and Transitional Living Programs provide runaway and homeless youth with a safe place to stay, access to a wide range of trauma-informed counseling and care, and a supportive community.
End Demand Illinois passes its 6th law in 6 years!

Thank you, End Demand Illinois supporters, for standing with survivors and helping prevent unfair prostitution convictions. On May 18th, the Illinois House unanimously passed SB 1588, with a vote of 103-0-0!  SB 1588 creates an affirmative defense for people charged with prostitution, allowing them to prove that they engaged in prostitution as a result of human trafficking as defined by state law. SB 1588 also creates an innovative new court procedure to safeguard prostituted people.

Early on, End Demand Illinois listened to survivors who shared stories of how unsafe the court proceedings can be - from pimps watching the hearing to court personnel who wouldn't listen to them. SB 1588 addresses survivors concerns by creating a procedure for courts to follow if the defendant is concerned about the safety of raising the affirmative defense in open court. SB 1588's safety procedure would be the first law of its kind in the nation, requiring courts to listen to the concerns of prostituted people in the safest way possible.

Next, Senate Bill 1588 will be sent to Governor Rauner for his signature.
Upcoming Events in the Chicago Metro Area 

For information, visit

May 27; 12 - 1 pm: Trafficking Webinar

URI, an internationally recognized interfaith network active in nearly 80 countries, presents: Vaccinating Our Communities Against Human Trafficking a webinar to discuss Interfaith Approaches to Human Trafficking Education. Space is limited; click here to RSVP.


June 22; 7 pm: Film Screening: The Hunting Ground

AMC Showplace Village Crossing, 7000 Carpenter Road, Skokie

The Hunting Ground is a startling expos? of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses, institutional coverups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families. The film captures survivors who are taking matters into their own hands-ingeniously employing Title IX legal strategy to fight back and sharing their knowledge among a growing, unstoppable network of young women who will no longer be silent. A brief panel discussion follows the film. There is no charge to attend, but space is limited.  Click here to RSVP.


June 25; 7 pm: Film Screening: Dreamcatcher
Sponsored by CAASE

Virgin Hotels Chicago, 203 N Wabash, Chicago, IL 60601
Doors open at 6:30 pm; film begins promptly at 7pm.

Dreamcatcher explores the cycle of neglect, violence and exploitation which each year leaves thousands upon thousands of girls and women feeling that prostitution is their only option to survive. By following the very charming, charismatic and truly empathic Brenda Myers-Powell, we enter the lives of young women and see in footage their realities from their points of view. Post-film discussion with Brenda Myers-Powell (Dreamcatcher Foundation) and CAASE's Executive Director Kaethe Morris Hoffer. Click here for tickets and for more information.

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.


The award winning documentary Dreamcatcher is a powerful look into sex trafficking in the Chicago area.  JCAST Chicago is hoping to schedule a screening of the film, but in the meantime, you can attend the June 25 showing sponsored by CAASE (see Upcoming Events above).


Brenda Myers-Powell was a drug-addicted teen prostitute until a violent encounter with a 'john,' caused her to change her life. Today she dedicates her life to helping women and girls who want to change their own lives. Dreamcatcher is not to be missed.  Click here for the trailer and an overview of the film.

Bodies and Souls Book Salon Recap
On May 12, a group of about 15 women gathered in Northbrook to discuss Isabel Vincent's amazing non-fiction book Bodies and Souls. The discussion was lively and informative and everyone left the program knowing more than they started - especially about the Jewish connection to sex trafficking. We are planning on offering additional Salons on other books, articles and films.  If you have any suggestions or would like to plan or host a program, email and let us know.
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.



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:

* 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