Hope for Human Trafficking Survivors – Chicago

Human-Trafficking-Victim-Rescued-Blog

Her family moved from shelter to shelter with no stable housing in sight. Facing limited options, Angie decided she needed to care for herself, and moved to the streets.

Soon, she met a man who offered her a roof over her head, food and clothes. But there was a catch – she would need to go to work for him, as a prostitute on the streets of Chicago. For three years, Angie worked every day with the expectation she would bring a predetermined amount of money back to her pimp.

A few years later she found herself pregnant and decided it was time to leave. “It certainly wasn’t easy but I did it,” Angie said. “One day I just never came back.” Continue reading “Hope for Human Trafficking Survivors – Chicago”

Art Exhibition Displays Work From Clients in Salvation Army PROMISE Program

Young women from The Salvation Army’s PROMISE program (Partnership to Rescue Our Minors from Sexual Exploitation) displayed their original works of art at the unique exhibition “Brilliant: Art From the Light Within” on Friday, October 19, at Geraldine Rodriguez Photography, located at the prestigious Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. Continue reading “Art Exhibition Displays Work From Clients in Salvation Army PROMISE Program”

Art Exhibit Displays Work of Local Artists to Benefit Victims of Human Trafficking

Exhibit Features Artwork Created by Women and Girls Recovering from Sexual Exploitation

WHAT:   Dozens of local artists will display original artwork at an exhibit to benefit the victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation on Saturday, May 19, at Flourish Studios in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.  The Salvation Army has partnered with Buy Art Not People (BANP) for this unique exhibit. Professional artwork displayed for purchase depicts the themes of home, sanctuary, recovery and transformation.  Art created by women and girls undergoing treatment in The Salvation Army PROMISE (Partnership to Rescue Minors from Sexual Exploitation) program will also be on display.

The event will feature speakers from The Salvation Army and BANP.  The evening will also include live entertainment from the Pearl String Quartet and other local artists and complimentary hors d’oeuvres, dessert and refreshments.  All proceeds will benefit The Salvation Army PROMISE  program.  Last year, BANP sold more than 100 paintings and raised $2,600 for The Salvation Army.

WHEN:            Saturday, May 19, 2012

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

WHERE:          Flourish Studios

3020 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657

TICKETS:        Tickets are $25 per person and are free for ages 18 and under.  Tickets can be purchased online or at the door while available. For more information, visit www.buyartnotpeople.org or contact Elizabeth Andrews at Elizabeth@buyartnotpeople.org.

About Buy Art Not People

Buy Art Not People equips artists with tools to raise awareness locally and nationally about modern day slavery. BANP funnels resources to anti-trafficking organizations in our community and abroad and works to bring freedom and health to survivors through creativity and collaboration.

About The Salvation Army PROMISE Program (Anne’s House)

In September 2010, The Salvation Army opened Anne’s House, a residential home for women and girls who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.  Anne’s House provides a safe, nurturing environment; long-term trauma treatment; life skills training; and education for young women ages 12-21 who are victims of sexual abuse and violence.  Anne’s House is one of only a few homes in theU.S.providing residential care and long-term therapeutic treatment for victims of human trafficking.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 89 cents of every dollar spent is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salarmychicago.org.

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The Salvation Army Assists Victims in Illinois Human Trafficking Investigation “Little Girl Lost”

State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez Thanks The Salvation Army’s STOP-IT Program

The Salvation Army Against Sexual TraffickingThe Salvation Army’s STOP-IT Program is providing psychological treatment, residential placement and supportive services for victims of gang members charged yesterday with sex trafficking in the nation’s first-ever state-based wiretap investigation, “Little Girl Lost.”   Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the charges at a press conference yesterday, at which she thanked The Salvation Army Stop-It program for delivering assistance to victims of sex trafficking.

The State’s Attorney’s federally funded Human Trafficking Unit works in partnership with STOP-IT, and during the investigation, Salvation Army service providers were embedded with police and prosecutors in order to provide real-time referrals for the recovered young women and girls.

STOP-IT provides psychological and medical treatment, educational services and vocational training for victims who have been harmed by the sex trade.  The program also actively combats human trafficking by educating the community on identifying the “red flags” of human trafficking, operating a 24-hour hotline and reaching out to and assisting the victims of trafficking.  The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division has built collaborative relationships with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Chicago Police Department and juvenile service providers and has conducted extensive outreach in an effort to identify victims, aid their safe exit and connect them with needed services.  STOP-IT was authorized by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.

“The Salvation Army is deeply committed to helping children and adults escape the predatory and abusive crimes of commercial sexual exploitation and find safety, treatment, support and healing,” said Lt. Col. Ralph Bukiewicz, Salvation Army Metropolitan Divisional Commander.  “The disturbing details surrounding the crimes committed in this case and the extreme suffering of these young victims underscores why we are so honored to partner with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Chicago law enforcement officials in the fight against the escalating problem of sex trafficking and underage prostitution.”

According to the press release issued by the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, some of the children and young women sex-trafficked were as young as 12 years old.  In almost every instance, the traffickers or “pimps” used indoctrination, drugs, threats, beatings and intimidation to control the young women and to prevent them from leaving their custody.  The traffickers employed extensive physical and emotional abuse, as well as the use of other psychological tactics, including branding tattoos, face-slashing, beatings, forced bowing and “trunking,” a punishment that involves locking the young woman or girl in the trunk of a car and driving around for extended periods of time.

“Street gang members are not just selling drugs any longer, they are selling children and young women for sex right here in our own backyards, in some of the most violent and appalling cases of sex trafficking,” Alvarez said.  “Most of these young women and children are recruited and seduced into this life by experienced predators that first prey on their vulnerabilities ad then force them into a violent and demeaning ordeal.”

Operation “Little Girl Lost” was a long-term undercover investigation into the forced sex-trafficking of children and  young women by Chicago street gang members, which resulted in charges against nine offenders in the nation’s first-ever state-based wiretap investigation targeting the crime of human trafficking, announced Cook County and Chicago law enforcement officials.

The investigation employed the first full use of the provisions of the Illinois Safe Children’s Act, a sweeping new law written by the State’s Attorney’s Office and approved by the General Assembly last year.  Among its provisions, the Safe Children’s Act provides law enforcement with new court-ordered wiretap authorities, increased criminal penalties and the new fees and penalties for customers or “johns,” which directly help fund police operations and social services.

For more information about how The Salvation Army combats human trafficking and assists victims of human trafficking, visit www.sa-stopit.orgThe STOP-IT 24-hour hotline is 877-606-3158.

The Salvation Army also operates the PROMISE program (Partnership to Rescue our Minors from Sexual Exploitation).  PROMISE has trained more than 10,000 first responders across five major U.S. cities in human trafficking prevention, identification and intervention skills. In September 2010, The Salvation Army opened Anne’s House, a residential home for women and girls who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking.  Anne’s House provides a safe, nurturing environment; long-term trauma treatment; life skills training; and education for young women ages 12-21 who are victims of sexual abuse and violence.  Anne’s House is one of only a few homes in the U.S. providing residential care and long-term therapeutic treatment for victims of human trafficking.