Today, Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) hosted a Human Trafficking Forum at Benedictine University in Lisle. The event featured local leaders in the fight against human trafficking, including representatives from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, the Salvation Army's STOP-IT Initiative, and the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE).
"One of the most effective ways to combat human trafficking in the Chicagoland area is by simply increasing awareness," said Roskam. "Too often, people have no idea this is happening in their neighborhood, and by simply speaking out and educating others, we can bring law enforcement, social services and the community together to pay attention and lend a hand in eliminating this scourge and protecting at-risk populations. I want to thank the participants here today for all the work they do to shine a light on this terrible crime and bring these criminals to justice."
"While it is often perceived to be an international problem, human trafficking and the sex trafficking of children is a very real crime that is occurring right here and right now in our own backyards," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. "While it does not make the headlines each and every day like so many other violent crimes, human trafficking is no less prevalent and no less offensive and my office is very pleased to join with Congressman Roskam and others in working to raise awareness about these crimes and to work toward collaborative solutions."
"The Salvation Army's STOP-IT Program, Initiative Against Human Trafficking provides support to clients through comprehensive case management support, in order to assist them in maintaining a life free of exploitation," Pilar Meyer Dunning, Program Manager of the Salvation Army's STOP-IT Initiative. "We operate under the federal definition of human trafficking, and provide this support to clients within Cook County, the nine collar counties, and Lake County, Indiana. We work with individuals with or without legal status within the United States, with US citizens, men, women, children, and adults -- both labor and sex trafficking. Our collaboration with law enforcement, prosecutors, service providers, and hospital personnel is instrumental in providing support to the diverse needs of trafficked persons. Our 24/7 hotline 877-606-3158 is available for technical assistance for professionals, as well as clients interested in our program."
"We will continue to inform our community leaders about the most effective responses to reducing commercial sexual exploitation in our community," said Lynne Johnson, Policy and Advocacy Director at CAASE. "The first step is educating our communities about how pervasive this problem is in all of Illinois."