Press Release: Chicago’s First Overnight Drop-In Center for Sex Trafficking Victims Opens

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Traffick Free Opens Center for Females in Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Traffick Free, a nonprofit organization providing tools and programs to combat human trafficking, opened Chicago’s first low-demand overnight drop-in center for victims of sex trafficking last month.

The drop-in center offers female-identified persons age 18 and older the opportunity to temporarily remove themselves from a commercial sexual exploitation situation. Services include showers, change of clothing and case management services.

“Traffick Free’s drop-in center is unique in that we do not ask anything of our guests,” Executive Director Laura Ng said. “There are no participation rules, no identifying paperwork to complete, and no drug use requirements to fulfill.  Instead, our guests are encouraged to use the center as a reprieve and are invited to stay as long as they wish.”

The drop in center is currently open on Thursdays and Fridays from 8pm to 8am. With continued support, the goal to accommodate guests 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Traffick Free relies on trusted partners to make initial referrals for women who need services. For safety, the location remains undisclosed to the public.

Due to the elusive nature of human trafficking, it is difficult to determine how many women and children in the Chicagoland area are currently under the control of pimps, traffickers and johns, but some experts estimate victimized women and girls number between 16,000 and 25,000. Traffick Free aims to be the first step out of exploitation by offering needed emergency services. This model comes after six years of research with survivors, service providers and law enforcement nationwide. For more information, visit traffickfree.org/drop-in-center.

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