Rachel Durchslag, Executive Director
Rachel Durchslag has been working in the social justice community since 2000. After receiving her BS from Skidmore College in 2000 with a double major in women’s studies and social work, Rachel moved to Chicago where she worked for Personal Political Action Committee, the Day Care Action Council of Illinois, and the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women. In 2005, Rachel earned her master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. In June of 2006, Rachel founded the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, an organization that works to eliminate sexual exploitation through litigation and advocacy, organizing and policy reform, and prevention and resource development. Besides serving as the Executive Director of CAASE, Rachel is a board member of the BREATHE Network. In her spare time Rachel is a fitness instructor with the Lakeview YMCA.
Rachel has won numerous awards for her work including: YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago Promise Leadership Award; Young Nonprofit Professional Network's Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year; Soroptimist International Women Making A Difference; Chicago NOW Women Who Dare; Global Centurion Norma Hotaling Innovative Demand Reduction Award; Avodah Partners in Justice Award; Soroptimist Ruby Award; and the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration Elizabeth Butler Award.
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Meet the CAASE Board of Directors: Read their bios here.
Lynne Johnson, Policy and Advocacy Director
Lynne Johnson has been working in the violence against women movement for over 13 years. As an attorney in Maryland, Lynne represented battered women in Protective Order hearings and also worked in Baltimore City’s Juvenile Court system representing children in the foster care system. Since relocating to Chicago in 1999, Lynne managed domestic violence and rape crisis programs and has advocated for improved community responses to violence against women. Lynne holds her 40 Hour Crisis Intervention certifications in both domestic violence and sexual assault. Lynne is a trainer for the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline and the University of Chicago’s Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention program. Lynne joined Chicago Foundation for Women in 2005 as the Program Officer, and later served as its Director of Advocacy, working in areas of reproductive justice, violence against women, and women’s health. In July 2009, Lynne joined the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation and serves as its Policy and Advocacy Director, where she leads the End Demand Illinois statewide campaign. Lynne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore’s School of Law. Lynne lives in Chicago with her beautiful son, Caleb.
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Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Deputy Executive Director and Legal Director
Kaethe Morris Hoffer represents individual survivors of sexual assault, including through prostitution, advocating for them through civil litigation and within the context of the criminal system. Kaethe has spent the last twenty years doing legal and political advocacy opposing sex inequality and sexual violence. She has advocated for individual survivors in state court, in federal court, in university disciplinary proceedings, and in numerous other venues. She has co-authored cutting edge civil rights laws for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, and lobbied for progressive legislation on trafficking and prostitution in Springfield, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and at the United Nations.
Kaethe conducts trainings on civil legal remedies against sexual assault for rape and domestic violence service organizations, as well as for attorneys and legal organizations. She currently serves on the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s Policy Advisory Committee, and previously was a member of the women’s policy advisory group for the Obama Campaign, the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois, and a policy advisor to Mayor Richard M. Daley.
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Sheerine Alemzadeh, Staff Attorney
Sheerine is a Skadden Fellow and is litigating under state and federal laws to achieve workplace justice for sexual assault survivors. Sheerine graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School as a Toll Public Interest Scholar. While in law school, Sheerine co-founded Students Against Gender-Based Exploitation, a pro bono project providing legal support to Philadelphia organizations serving survivors of gender-based violence. As a law student, Sheerine interned for the Equal Employment Opportunity Project of the Washington Lawyers' Committee, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, and the Employment Unit of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. Upon graduation, Sheerine received the Fordham Human Rights Award and the Goldstein Memorial Prize for Best Paper in Labor Law. Prior to law school, Sheerine worked for the legal department of Tahirih Justice Center, advocating on behalf of immigrant survivors of gender-based violence.
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Karen Beilstein, Office Manager
Karen began her work with CAASE as a volunteer, coordinating the development of our Communities of Faith Toolkits and assisting the organization with many special projects. Currently as a staff member, she helps to coordinate CAASE's operations and works with fundraising and budgeting efforts.
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Kristin Claes Mathews, Communications Manager
Kristin has worked in communications in the nonprofit sector since 2004. She received her BA and MA in English literature from Saint Louis University, where she also studied journalism and served as editor-in-chief of The University News. She has taught composition at the college level and holds a certificate in creative and professional writing. From 2008 to 2010, Kristin served as a communicator for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. She has received several awards for her writing, including a certificate of excellence from the ECHO Awards for the Red Cross donor newsletter Crossnotes, which placed 5th out of 700 entries. As a member of the Red Cross Advanced Public Affairs team, Kristin deployed to Nashville in 2010 to assist with the flooding relief operation. She enjoys exploring social media and is proud to be the voice of @TheCAASE on Twitter.
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Katie Gaughan, Staff Attorney
Katie graduated from the John Marshall Law School in 2012. Before coming to CAASE, Katie was a policy and legal fellow at Polaris Project in Washington, D.C., where she worked on drafting anti-human trafficking legislation for several states. During law school, she interned at the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic and the People's Law Office. She served as President of the John Marshall chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. Katie received her BA from the University of Minnesota, with a major in Professional Journalism and a minor in Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies. Before law school, Katie worked at The Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis.
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Veronica Martinez, Project Administrator
Veronica has worked as a paralegal for eight years. She previously worked at Life Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy, which assists victims of domestic violence in family law matters. Veronica joined Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation in 2010 as the Project Administrator for the Sexual Assault Justice Project. She works with our staff attorneys to help survivors of sexual harm seek justice in criminal and civil court.
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Caleb Probst, Education Outreach Associate
Caleb first became involved with CAASE in 2007 while helping to research the behavior of men who buy sex (“johns”) in the Chicago area. He directed "Body and Sold" in 2008 - a play that told the stories of eight prostituted young people in America. In 2010, he wrote "The Strings Attached" and produced it and "The Johns" under the title "Private Lies: Two Plays about Prostitution and Johns." As CAASE's Education Outreach Associate, he is bringing our new curriculum to high schools and empowering young men to become allies in ending sexual exploitation and violence.
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Interns and Volunteers
S. Maryam Al-Zoubi, Policy Intern
Maryam is a second year Master’s student at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. Her concentration is in Violence Prevention. Maryam graduated in 2010 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a dual degree in International Studies and Arabic, with a minor in Social and Economic Justice. After graduating, she moved to Chicago to manage a Get Out the Vote campaign with ICIRR and intern with CAASE during community engagement with the Muslim community. She is happy to be back at CAASE, this time as a policy intern. Maryam hopes to attend law school and focus her career on prosecuting human traffickers
Contact Maryam at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Conlin, Prevention Intern
Sarah is a senior at Indiana University, studying social justice with a concentration on sex trafficking. She joined in the fight against trafficking in 2008, and she has since served alongside Rapha House and Breaking Chains, safe houses for girls in Cambodia and Tijuana, and other anti-trafficking organizations. In 2011, she led, with other students, a campus-wide campaign that raised awareness and funds for organizations and individuals working against sexual exploitation. She has developed a passion to see freedom for all involved in the sex trafficking industry, and is excited and honored to join CAASE’s demand-focused prevention efforts.
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Lara Janson, Researcher
Lara Janson has worked on the issue of human trafficking in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. She conduced research for CAASE about the demand side of trafficking and the commercial sex industry. She analyzes online Johns Boards, where men trade information about the commercial sex industry throughout Illinois. Lara has contributed to a curriculum for educating boys and young men about modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Last spring, Lara also organized a Bandana Project event to raise awareness in Chicago about sexual violence against farm worker/immigrant women.
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Roxy Kozyckyj, Prevention Intern
Roxy received her B.A. in International Studies with a minor is Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Economic Policy Analysis at DePaul University. She first became interested in human trafficking while studying genocide in college. Since then, her academic interests have focused on the push and pull factors of trafficking, including economic gender inequity, education, and economic development. She hopes to pursue a career in public policy and work on these issues.
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Rachel Schwarz, Legal Intern
Rachel received her Bachelor's Degree in Rhetorical Studies and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 2010. In Madison, Rachel was active in her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, which donated time and money to Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. After taking a year off, Rachel returned to school to obtain her law degree from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Prior to coming to CAASE, Rachel interned at the Cook County Public Defender's Office. She is looking forward to this summer as she takes the next step of her legal career.
Contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org