September, 2017
JCAST Chicago September Blog

Connecting Sex Trafficking &
Domestic Violence
By: Gayle Nelson

Over the last forty years, our understanding of the nature and prevalence of domestic violence has matured. Gone are the days when we were surprised it was happening on the North Shore or asked what did she do or why didn't she leave.

Over the last few months, I have attended a couple of conferences on sex trafficking and it surprised me just how similar it is to domestic violence and how much we as a society are continuing to learn. The similarity begins by examining the relationship between domestic violence and sex trafficking. Those who are victims of child sexual assault have a higher vulnerability to sex trafficking.  

Once victims are entangled in sex trafficking, the connections grow. After all, many sex trafficking victims see their pimps as their boyfriend. Pimps use isolation and violence to maintain control over their victims. And, sex trafficking victims are at their greatest danger when they are making plans to escape or in the act of escaping.

Yet, many people continue to ask questions and pass judgement of sex trafficking survivors making it difficult for survivors to seek the services they desperately need. There is the mistake of linking the freedom of movement with the ability to leave; not connecting the desperation of poverty and lack of options with the desire to want to sell one's body; or finding fault in the young women's family or in her own actions.

I am grateful JCAST Chicago lay leaders are participating in these learning opportunities with me. Many are not practitioners and do not have special training. Instead, they have a desire to learn, support sex trafficking survivors, and end demand. JCAST Chicago's mission includes increasing awareness and educating each other on sex trafficking. Educating our friends and the Jewish community as a whole is all of our responsibility. Over the coming months, there will be more opportunities to learn. Please contact me at to receive more information or if you have questions. I look forward to learning with you. 
JCAST Chicago is looking for Interns; Interested?

Recently JCAST Chicago said goodbye to our 2016-7 interns. Haley Braun is a graduate student at the Chicago School of Social Work. She partnered with JCAST Chicago throughout the last school year. She created text for past Enews and compiled evaluation results, among other critical responsibilities. 

Eliana Fleischer is an undergraduate student at the University of Richmond. She partnered with us over the summer improving our Powerpoint presentation, supporting advocacy activities, and assisting educational programming.

JCAST Chicago welcomes interest from graduate and undergraduate students. Contact Gayle at for more information!
Upcoming Events*

Learn More about Sex Trafficking
The Chicago Council of Global Affairs is hosting an insightful event with opening remarks by Senator Dick Durbin and speakers: Marian Hatcher, Senior Project Manager, Human Trafficking Coordinator, Cook County Sheriff's Office; Rochelle Keyhan, Director of Disruption Strategies, Polaris; Brenda Myers-Powell, The Dreamcatcher Foundation. Moderated by Laura Ng, Executive Director, Traffick Free. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 5:15-7:15 pm at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Conference Center, 130 East Randolph Drive, Chicago. Register at:

Thinking about Volunteering at Selah Freedom?
Learn more at their next Volunteer Connect Meeting: Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 6-7PM at: Willow Creek North Shore, 2200 Shermer Rd. Glenview. For more info: 

Support Traffick Free
Attend a unique gallery-style experience with drinks, light bites and thoughtful conversation amidst visual artwork, spoken word, and short educational presentations. Friday, November 3, 2017, 5:30- 9:00PM at Latham & Watkins, 330 N Wabash, Chicago, IL 60611. For more info: 

Chicago Bar Association, 
Sex Trafficking Committee
JCAST Chicago is excited to announce the Chicago Bar Association's new Human Trafficking Committee. The Committee is chaired by Kathryn Liss. Committee meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 12:15pm. 

Upcoming speakers include: 10/10 - Christine Evans & Rachel Johnson from CAASE; 11/14 - Lisa Palumbo from LAF; 1/9 Hon. Virginia M. Kendall & Assistant US Attorney Bethany Biesenthal.  In December and April the Committee is planning service projects within the community in lieu of a monthly meeting. 

F or more information, email: Kathryn at:

Family Action Network (FAN)
S ex Trafficking Events
FAN has another great lineup of events this fall. We want to highlight two events featuring a panel on Sex Trafficking on November 9, 2017 at Noon Loyola College of Law (RSVP required) & 7:00 pm at New Trier, Northfield campus. Both events featuring: Susan Bissell, Ph.D., Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF; Elizabeth Fisher, Co-Founder, President/CEO of Selah Freedom; Hon. Virgina Kendall, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, and co-author of Child Exploitation and Trafficking: Examining the Global Challenges and the U.S. Responses (2011); and Katherine Kaufka Walts, J.D., Director, Center for the Human Rights of Children, Loyola University Chicago.

*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*

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.
Support JCAST Chicago Today!

Donate now and support critical learning and engagement opportunities throughout Chicagoland.  Click here  and Thank you!
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: gayle

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, Chicago Parks Foundation
Betsy Lazerow, JCFS,  JCARES
Carole Levine, NCJW 
Rae Luskin, NCJW
Sherry Petlin, NCJW
Bonnie Ribet, NCJW
Heather Ross, NCJW, Hakafa 
Mara Ruff, JUF 
Stacy Saef, NCJW 
Joan Zahnle, NCJW CNS
Rochel Ray & Samantha Spolter SHALVA 

Gayle Nelson, Engagement and Development Director
Featured Organization


Shalva is the oldest independent, Jewish domestic abuse agency in the United States and the only Jewish agency in the Chicago metropolitan area specifically certified by the State of Illinois to provide domestic violence counseling.

Because of the connection between Domestic Violence and Sex Trafficking, Shalva's participation in JCAST Chicago is critical. Shalva's Outreach and Educational Coordinator and JCAST Chicago Steering Committee member, Deborah Zionts, has provided her expertise and connected us to others interested in combating sex trafficking. We are saddened she is leaving and wish her the best. We also welcome her colleagues Rochel Ray and Samantha Spolter.

For more information on Shalva, visit 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. 
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 secure speaking "gigs" at Jewish organizations.  Contact Donna at  with names and contacts at synagogues, chavurot, and other Jewish organizations. 

SAVE THE DATE-January 21, 2018 (Sunday), 2:00-5PM - Showing of I am Jane Doe and speaker round table at the Northbrook Public Library, sponsored by JCAST Chicago, NCJW Chicago North Shore and the Northbrook Public Library.


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 is supported by the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.