Shared Hope International is dedicated to the fight against domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST). Public awareness is critical in this battle to end the buying and selling of America’s youth for sex and sexual entertainment. Shared Hope strives to combat DMST by strengthening the community’s knowledge and awareness of the issue and by building momentum in specific locations , translating to support for local organizations working to rescue and restore victims of child sex trafficking. We’ve been in Vegas, Washington D.C., Miami and Washington State with campaigns to educate the public and lobby for change. This summer, we’re bringing the movement to Chicago to spread the important message that Kids are NOT for Sale!
Cook County, IL, reports an estimated 25,000 women and girls are involved in prostitution annually in Chicago’s metropolitan area. Local law enforcement and child advocates have referred to Chicago as a “high intensity child prostitution area.” Studies have also shown that of a sample of girls involved in Chicago’s sex trade, 100% have experienced violence at the hands of their pimps and/or clients, such as rape, physical and psychological abuse. In 2008, DePaul University released an assessment of domestic sex trafficking in Chicago, citing that although victims expressed a desire to leave the commercial sex trade, they felt there was nowhere to go and no one to care for them. While metropolitan Chicago agencies, service providers and nongovernmental organizations have shown some success in combating trafficking through collaboration and other endeavors, the sex trade is still thriving in Chicago, and we need YOUR help to stop it!
From June 19-26, we will inundate the city with a jam-packed week of events including a press conference at Thompson Center, rallies aimed at every age group, a Truck Stop Campaign, and a youth rally featuring the efforts of local teens as they raise their voices for freedom through creative ideas, performances, and works of art. We will also host “One Night, One Voice”, a campus awareness initiative, asking local college students to stand up against injustice and plan a vigil, fundraiser or awareness event on their campus. Our week-long campaign will focus on informing Chicago’s leaders, professionals and the community, enabling them to share the facts of sex trafficking and inspire change within their own city.
Through a partnership with STOP-IT, we will also provide a training for the Chicago Police and VICE squad on how to properly identify and respond to child victims of trafficking. Additionally, Shared Hope is proud to collaborate with Tina Frundt, Founder and Executive Director of Courtney’s House, our partner in Washington, DC, to bring an essential street outreach training to Chicago. We recognize the importance of equipping service providers and volunteers with the knowledge to identify, engage and respond to trafficked youth on the street, who rarely have the freedom to access services themselves.
Are you in the Chicago area? Want to get involved and raise awareness in your community to stop child sex trafficking? Check out our website http://www.sharedhope.org/what/Chicago.asp for more information and ideas, including a FREE downloadable social media kit to help you END DEMAND in Chicago! Together, we can stop Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking!