ChicagoCAC is committed to serving children who have been trafficked, and every case we receive is reviewed for red flags for human trafficking.
Our human trafficking team includes a commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) specialist, a trafficking specialist and a dedicated therapist to provide timely care specific to these children’s needs.
The human trafficking team works with the other professionals engaged in the case to ensure that children receive care with attention to their needs and experiences. While trafficking is a small subset of the cases we see yearly, it’s important to spot potential signs of trafficking early so the appropriate interventions can take place.
If you suspect or know that a child (someone 17 or younger) is being trafficked, call the Illinois DCFS Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873). If a child is in immediate danger, also call 911.
The U.S. government defines sex trafficking as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age (22 USC § 7102).
Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, (22 USC § 7102).
Illinois Safe Children’s Act of 2010
The Illinois Safe Children’s Act improved the way minors who were engaged in commercial sexual exploitation were treated. As a result, these youth are no longer referred to as “juvenile prostitutes.” Today, they are rightfully referred to as “victims of sex trafficking,” regardless of whether a perpetrator/trafficker could be identified in the case.
These cases are now treated similarly to other types of child sexual abuse. Mandated reporters are required to notify the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) if they suspect that a person under the age of 18 is engaged in commercial sex. DCFS is then required to investigate the allegation within 24 hours. In Chicago, these cases are referred to ChicagoCAC.
ChicagoCAC’s trafficking specialists offer trainings for professionals, faith communities, parent groups and others. To learn more about the warning signs of sex or labor trafficking, how to help minor victims of trafficking, and to raise community awareness, you can request a training below.