December 2018

On October 4, 2018, the Jewish Community Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago co-sponsored a highly informative, well-attended interfaith program at the First Presbyterian Church of Deerfield along with the Highland Park/Highwood Legal Clinic, National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore (NCJW), the National Immigrant Justice Center, and the North Shore (IL) Chapter of The Links. Presenters from the Legal Clinic and National Immigrant Justice Center joined with Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney, Fred Day and JCAST staff Gayle Nelson to educate attendees on the intersection of immigration, domestic violence and sex trafficking including risk factors, warning signs, barriers to seeking help as well as legal and social services support available to victims, including the availability of government-issued T-Visas and U-Visas. 

Although, current events helped shape the discussion, this is not a new concern. NCJW has a history of combating sex trafficking. Many NCJW women volunteered at Ellis Island in the early 20th Century to redirect new immigrants from criminals and traffickers interested in connecting them with brothels to new opportunities in America.

Sex trafficking and domestic violence are overlapping criminal activities since both involve physical, emotional and mental abuse – the main difference is the financial gain for the traffickers or pimps. JCAST often references the family relationships that can exist between trafficker and victim. As with domestic violence, traffickers are often family members and the majority of victims and survivors are women who do not report their abuse.

Survivors of sex trafficking often face deportation, homelessness, financial insecurity and threats of violence against themselves and loved ones. Sadly, victims are often sexually and physically abused as children and therefore “normalize” their situation and may not see themselves as the victims at all.

What are the legal remedies available to immigrants who are victims of trafficking or domestic violence in the United States? Under the federal Violence Against Women Act, 10,000 U Visa’s are available to those who can prove that they’ve suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a victim of a qualifying criminal activity, including sex trafficking that occurs in the U.S. , possess knowledge of this criminal activity, and be helpful to the investigation or prosecution of such activity. Sadly, the demand is substantially higher than the visas available.
Steering Committee
JCAST Chicago is an initiative of NCJW Chicago North Shore and is governed by a Steering Committee of dedicated individuals. If you would be interested in serving on the steering committee or an 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
Beth Gordon,
Donna Gutman, NCJW, ICJW, CEASE Network 
Sara Kalish, NCJW
Tracy Medansky, JWF
Sherry Petlin, NCJW
Anita Pildes ,SHALVA
Bonnie Ribet, NCJW
Heather Ross, NCJW, Hakafa 
Stacy Saef, NCJW 
Joan Zahnle, NCJW CNS
Diane Zidman, Rochelle Zell High School

Gayle Nelson, 
Engagement and Development Director
Ensure there is a Chicago Jewish voice against sex trafficking and that we are able to continue our important work throughout 2019 and beyond. Make your gift on our secure website today!
Featured Organization of the Month
JCAST’s December Organization Spotlight is YOU!

The end of the year is a time to assess yearly accomplishments and set next year’s goals. JCAST Chicago knows that we could not have organized all of the awareness programs without our speakers who fearlessly spoke about sex trafficking; created and piloted our new parenting programs without our partners who worked with us; donated toiletries, and supported survivors of sex trafficking without our volunteers many of whom devoted countless hours; educated hundreds throughout the community without our dedicated Steering Committee who led the organization; and advocated for social change in Evanston and across the Chicagoland area without our generous donors who helped make it all possible. 

In 2019, we are expanding our table -- making room for YOU! Learn more about our volunteer opportunities and ways to get involved. PLEASE consider making an end of year gift to support these critical programs and services using our secure website or by sending a check to NCJWCNS (write JCAST in the memo line), 5 Revere Dr. Ste. 200, Northbrook, IL 60062.

Thank you for all you did in 2018 to build JCAST’s momentum toward social change and to combat sex trafficking.
See you in 2019!
January Event: Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Watch your email for our January joint event with Winnetka Community Church and Selah Freedom commemorating Human Trafficking Awareness month.
NCJW Women's Salon Discussion: Sex Trafficking
Thursday, February 14, 2019, 7:30 pm: North Suburban location given with RSVP
Join us an NCJW's Evening Salon in February featuring an informative discussion about sex trafficking with JCAST Steering Committee Co-Chair Donna Fishman. The Salon is a monthly, evening discussion group meeting in the northern suburbs. Every month a new topic is chosen, and source materials links are then emailed to everyone to read or watch. To learn more or reserve your spot email
Community Wide Forum with Author Pamela Samuel Young
Saturday, April 4, 2019 at 10am, Evanston
Join JCAST, The Links, Incorporated, NCJW and others for an amazing community-wide forum in Evanston featuring attorney, author and anti-trafficking advocate Pamela Samuels Young. For fifteen years, Pamela served as Managing Counsel for Toyota in Southern California, specializing in labor and employment law. While still practicing law, Pamela began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of her desire to see women and people of color depicted in the legal thrillers she read.

Her thriller Anybody’s Daughter (2013), a gripping tale of a teen unwittingly drawn into the world of child sex trafficking via a Facebook scam, won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction and was a Top Ten pick by In the Margins, the best books for at-risk teens. A frequent speaker on the topics of self-empowerment, sex trafficking and online safety, fiction writing, and pursuing your passion.

More information about this program will be available in 2019 at
Other Items and Events of Interest

Selah Freedom Volunteer Connect Meeting
January 8th from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM,
Willow North Shore, 2200 Shermer Rd, Glenview
Meet the staff of Selah Freedom and learn about ways you can volunteer. the meeting is open to the public. Selah Freedom is a national organization with the mission to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited through four strong programs: Awareness, Prevention, Outreach and Residential. JCAST Chicago has partnered with Selah Freedom and sponsored a room in the Illinois Selah Freedom house

Victory! The VOICES Act is Now Law
NCJW Chicago North Shore congratulates The Campaign for a Welcoming Illinois is on the verge of a major victory. The campaign drafted the Voices of Immigrant Communities Empowering Survivors (VOICES) Act, which will increase protections for immigrant survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, and other offenses. The bill passed the Illinois General Assembly with strong bipartisan support, but Governor Rauner vetoed the measure in August. The General Assembly recently voted to override the Governor’s veto to pass VOICES Act in a win for domestic violence and immigrant rights advocates
Three out of four physical assaults and four out of five rapes never get reported to police. Immigrant survivors face compounded fear that reporting to law enforcement will lead to deportation. Under federal law, survivors who cooperate with the detection, investigation, and/or prosecution of the crime can be provided with a path toward economic stability through a U or T visa as they are attempting to gain independence from their abusers. To qualify for a T or U visa, a survivor needs a law enforcement agency to provide a certification that documents the survivor’s cooperation. Many agencies, however, refuse to issue certifications or delay their responses. ICIRR released a report that found found disparate handling of certification cases when comparing Cook County and other areas. 

The VOICES Act provides a standardized path to certification by providing a time frame (90 business days in most cases) for a law enforcement agency to certify that the person is a victim.

Chicago Bar Association Human Trafficking Committee Committee
Seminar on Trafficking Survivors with Disabilities.  
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 3pm-5pm: 
Please join us for a conversation about the intersection between Human Trafficking and Disability Rights. The seminar will discuss how individuals with disability may be vulnerable to human trafficking, how victims of human trafficking may develop disabilities as a result of their exploitation, and how to use disabilities rights law to serve this population. Our distinguished panelists will discuss how to leverage multi-disciplinary partnerships and various stakeholders to protect victims and seek various forms of relief.  Click here for more information.
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. 
Take Action!

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

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 instructions and samples.

* 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, Siddharth Kara
  • Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World where Girls are not for Sale, Rachel Lloyd
  • The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy it, Victor Malarek 
  • The Natashas: Inside the Global Sex Trade, Victor Malarek
  • Women Hold up Half the Sky: Turing Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, 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