Saturday, April 29

Illinois observes first-ever statewide Human Trafficking Outreach Day

Grass-roots blitz involves federal, state and local agencies and hundreds of volunteers to heighten awareness of the growing problem       Send a link to a friend

[APRIL 29, 2006]  CHICAGO -- The Illinois Department of Human Services joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and more than 100 partners statewide in the Illinois Rescue and Restore Human Trafficking Outreach Day on April 22 to raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking and to help rescue victims in Illinois. Approximately 130 volunteer teams from every corner of the state canvassed neighborhoods and hung over 13,000 posters advertising the toll-free national Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline, (888) 3737-888.

A news conference at the Pan-African Association in Chicago kicked off the observance.

"Human trafficking is often a hidden problem, so reaching out to trafficking victims is important because the victims do not often know that help is available," said Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. "Wherever they can be found, we want to be there with hot line information and support for victims of this terrible crime."

As part of Human Trafficking Outreach Day, posters were displayed across the state through various partners, including the Illinois Department of Transportation, Metra, Chicago Police Department, Illinois State Police, and many local community and faith-based social service agencies. Volunteers targeted locations where a potential victim of trafficking or a first responder might see the message, such as at highway rest stops, libraries, gas stations, health clinics, restaurants, laundromats, Chicago Transit Authority trains and retail stores. Various types of posters have been produced in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.

The Illinois Rescue and Restore campaign, launched last year by Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a coalition comprised of local agencies, state agencies, law enforcement and the faith community to raise awareness of the problem.

Outreach is one of the five statewide goals for the Illinois Rescue and Restore coalition, along with training first responders, prosecuting offenders, coordinating services for victims and collecting data on human trafficking.

Illinois is the first state to form this unique and cutting-edge collaboration with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lending its extensive network to form a comprehensive response that is seen as a model for other states. As part of the Rescue and Restore initiative involving one statewide and 17 city organizations, the federal agency provided the fact sheets and color posters used in the Human Trafficking Outreach Day.

"The Illinois Rescue and Restore coalition's diligent work to educate their community through this outreach effort serves as a shining example in the battle against human trafficking," said Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., assistant secretary for children and families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "We hope today's event [April 22] and others like it will lead to the identification and assistance of many more human trafficking victims across the country."

Last year, Blagojevich signed House Bill 1469, the Trafficking of Persons and Involuntary Servitude Act, making it easier to prosecute human trafficking offenders and to assist victims.

The legislation established penalties for the offenses of involuntary servitude, sexual servitude of a minor and trafficking of people for forced labor and services. Forcing a person into servitude ranges from a Class 4 felony to a Class X if kidnapping or injury is involved. The bill also allows for restitution to pay back a victim for forced labor. Further, the law allows the Illinois Department of Human Services, subject to availability of funds, to provide emergency services to victims.

The U.S. government estimates that 14,000-17,500 people are trafficked into the United States annually. Victims are trafficked across international borders from such regions as Southeast Asia, Latin America, the former Soviet Union and Africa to work in labor and sex trades. After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second-largest criminal industry in the world today, and it is the fastest growing. 

Arrests made in Chicago and Rockford have underscored the prevalence of human trafficking in Illinois and the overwhelming need to reach out and assist trafficking victims.

The toll-free Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline, 1 (888) 3737-888, is designated to provide assistance to organizations and victims of trafficking. The line helps organizations and victims of trafficking by providing instant referrals to pre-screened aid organizations in their city. Calls are referred to local service agencies equipped to provide initial services to trafficking victims.

"The hot line is currently averaging 10 calls a month in Illinois," said Adams. "We expect this outreach effort will multiply that number greatly by increasing awareness of the problem and helping to identify victims."

To learn more about the campaign, visit for information and resources. The Illinois Rescue and Restore website is at

Illinois Rescue and Restore partners include the following (listed by county):


  • Cairo Women's Shelter

  • Delta Center


  • Freedom House


  • Cass County Interagency Partners

  • Nueva Vida Church


  • A Woman's Fund

  • Human Service Council


  • Embarras River Basin Agency


  • DHS Community Service

  • SAFE


  • Embarras River Basin Agency


  • Beautiful Zion Church

  • Calvary Baptist Church

  • Chicago Crime Commission

  • Chicago Police Department

  • Chicago Public Schools

  • Chicago Workers' Collaborative

  • Chicago Youth Centers

  • Chinese Mutual Aid Association

  • DHS Bureau of Domestic Violence Services

  • DHS Division of Rehabilitation

  • Dolton Police Department

  • Dominican University

  • Genesis House

  • Healthcare Alternative Systems, also known as HAS

  • Heartland Alliance

  • Holy Cross-Immaculate Heart of Mary Food Pantry, Casa Catalina

  • Humboldt Park Family and Community Resource Center -- Greenhouse Shelter

  • Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees

  • Illinois Center for Violence Prevention

  • Illinois Collaboration on Youth

  • Illinois Violence Prevention Authority

  • Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as IBVM

  • Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries

  • Latino Social Workers Organization

  • Life Span

  • Malia Artisan Imports

  • Meadows Community Center

  • Mujeres Latinos en Accion

  • New Covenant Baptist Church

  • Palatine Township

  • Pan-African Association

  • Rape Victim Advocates

  • Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

  • Shades of Ebony

  • Sisters of Mercy -- Justice Committee

  • Sojourner Covenant Church

  • The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

  • The Salvation Army

  • University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration

  • Uptown Center

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  • Embarras River Basin Agency


  • Embarras River Basin Agency

  • Toledo Christian Church


  • DeKalb Community Service Agency


  • Embarras River Basin Agency

  • DHS Family and Community Resource Center


  • World Relief -- Aurora


  • Embarras River Basin Agency

  • HOPE Coalition Against Violence

  • REACH Sexual Assault Crisis Services


  • First Presbyterian Church -- Women's Association


  • SAFE


  • Canton High School


  • Freedom House

  • Salvation Army

  • St. Malachy's Church


  • U of I Cooperative Extension


  • Global Initiative Organization

  • South Regional Social Service


  • Embarras River Basin Agency


  • Project CHILD, a Child Care Resource and Referral Agency

  • SAFE

Jo Daviess

  • Jo Daviess County Health Department


  • Community Crisis Center

  • Counseling on the Fox

  • Elgin Police Department

  • Friendly Hand Donation

  • Lazarus House


  • Kankakee Parish Nurses Network


  • Knox County Area Project, also known as KCAP


  • National Council of Jewish Women


  • Embarras River Basin Agency


  • New Life Pregnancy Center


  • Catholic Charities -- Granite City

  • Immigration Project

  • Oasis Women's Center

  • Sexual Assault Victims Unit


  • Freedom House


  • SAFE


  • Happy Handfuls 4-H Club


  • Graceland Covenant

  • WIU faculty


  • Project Oz

  • Western Avenue Community Center


  • Continuing Recovery Center


  • DHS


  • Center for Prevention of Abuse

  • Citizens for Community Values


  • Pulaski County Circuit Clerk's Office

  • Pulaski County Sheriff's Office

  • Pulaski County Treasurer's Office

  • Southern Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone


  • Freedom House


  • Embarras River Basin Agency

Rock Island

  • World Relief -- Moline


  • Illinois State Police

  • Positive Options, Referrals and Alternatives

  • Springfield Community Federation

St. Clair

  • Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House


  • Freedom House


  • Stephenson County Health Department


  • Southern Seven Health Department

  • Union County Counseling

  • Union County Family and Community Resource Center


  • Your Family Resource Connection, also known as YRFC


  • Monmouth College


  • SAFE

Will, Kendall

  • Agape Missions

  • Guardian Angel Community Services


  • La Voz Latina Hispanic Resource Center

[Illinois Department of Human Services news release]

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