Need for Emergency Housing
10th Annual Valentine's Day Family Violence Distinguished Lecture
with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart
I went to the lecture with Sheriff Tom Dart yesterday at DePaul Law School downtown. It was incredible! The event was sold out & the room was packed. He talked about trends they've seen with traffickers, including the Schiller Park case, among many others. The brutality of getting beaten by the wooden handle of a plunger if one of the 6 Thai women (who spoke very little English) did not meet their 5 tricks per day quota is just nauseating. Their captors threatened to kill their families at home if they tried to escape. At the time of the arrest at the beginning of the February, the police had nowhere for the women to go and had to put them up in a hotel.
I almost started crying because that was 1 of a number of times that Sheriff Dart expressed that there was nowhere for law enforcement to send victims to keep them safe and feel secure. Traffick Free is in the process of putting together a plan to get 30-day emergency housing up and running in the next 1.5-2 years. Why can't that be today? I would love to skip all the funding steps and red tape to actually get to helping people. Even if we ended human trafficking today, there is nowhere for survivors to go! 100 beds available in the entire country to trafficking victims is a joke. Are we really serious about ending modern day slavery? How can we be if we are not advocating for survivors and providing housing and services for them? The need for housing just continues to remind me and spur me on that this is such a HUGE need in our city. And not just housing, but housing without a long list of restrictions. Human trafficking has no regard for age, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, socioeconomic background, country or neighborhood. If we add restrictions like drug addiction (which is often a method of control) or mental illness, a result of abuse, we may not be able to help anyone and all our work would be for nothing.
So if you live in another city and want to end human trafficking, housing is a large piece of the puzzle to getting there. Partner with as many anti-human trafficking organizations in your area as you can and rally support! You'll be working with these organizations when your housing is up and running because they will be calling you when they get a lead or have a survivor that needs a safe place of shelter and support.
If you live in Chicago & want to partner with us in starting our emergency housing, you can donate to Traffick Free here. We are a non-profit organization (& 100% volunteer run), so it's tax deductible. Thank you so much for your support, we literally could not do it without you!
by: Sarah Amidon
Traffick Free Communications Director