August, 2014: Creating New Funding Streams for Specialized Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking: Read about EDI's latest successful legislative initiative >>

Proposal for Supportive Services for Survivors in Illinois

CAASE's End Demand Illinois campaign  released a Proposal for a Statewide System of Specialized Services for Survivors of Prostitution and Trafficking.

The proposal includes findings from service providers in Illinois and across the nation who were intentionally offering services, support, and outreach to people impacted by our nation’s thriving commercial sex trade. The proposal seeks to share lessons learned and offer best practices. We hope that this proposal will raise awareness about the effectiveness of, and need for, specialized services. Download the entire proposal here.

EDI in the News

The Chicago Tribune ran a front page story about our new law, Creating Funding Streams for Specialized Service for Survivors of Human Trafficking. The story featured Renea Walker, member of the EDI Survivor Engagement Committee and CAASE's Lynne Johnson discussing why services are crucial for survivors and the End Demand Illinois campaign. We led the passage of this law and are thrilled to be interviewed about it. 

(You will need to sign in to the Trib's website, but you don't need to be a paid subscriber, simply create an account.)

Want to help? Sign up for our email action alerts here!

CAASE works with elected officials, public-opinion shapers and allies to improve our community’s response to sexual exploitation. We promote policy and advocacy reforms that will hold perpetrators of sexual harm accountable and create resources for survivors of prostitution, sex trafficking and sexual assault. Questions? Contact Lynne Johnson, Policy Director:

End Demand Illinois: A Local Campaign with National Influence

CAASE is the lead agency for End Demand Illinois (EDI), a multi-year statewide campaign that seeks to transform our community's response to prostitution. EDI is working to end the routine arrest and re-arrest of women and girls in prostitution and instead proposes a statewide system of supportive services for survivors of the sex trade. In addition, EDI advocates for new tools and resources to allow law enforcement to begin arresting, charging, and prosecuting pimps, traffickers, and customers who create the demand for the sex trade. Illinois is receiving national attention for these innovative approaches.

The goals of End Demand Illinois are:

  • Holding traffickers, pimps, and the people who buy commercial sex accountable for their crimes and deterring them from future trafficking and prostitution offenses.  
  • Proposing a network of support so prostituted and trafficked people receive comprehensive, specialized supportive services to address their complex needs and provide meaningful alternatives to prostitution.
  • Educating Illinois residents, elected officials, policy makers, and opinion leaders about the realities of prostitution and trafficking so they are moved to take action against demand.

Campaign successes include:

  • Creating an Affirmative Defense for Survivors of Prostitution. End Demand Illinois' new legislative initiative would create an affirmative defense for people facing prostitution charges to refute charges resulting from human trafficking. SB 1588 also provides an in camera hearing for defendants who are concerned about the safety of raising the affirmative defense in open court. Read more about the law here.
  • On August 21, Gov. Quinn signed PA 98-1013, formerly SB 3558, which creates funding streams for specialized services for survivors of human trafficking and prostitution while encouraging a more effective law enforcement response to the demand for sexual exploitation. The law is effective January 1, 2015.  Read more about the public act here.

Want to spread the word? Get informed!

To learn more about the campaign, our partners
and steering committee members, visit

Improving Local Government's Response to Sexual Assault

Rape crisis centers are vitally important to our community, but local government has not historically offered financial support to ensure that these services are available. In recent years, CAASE has led efforts to change this and secure new funding:

CAASE leads effort to secure rape crisis funding from Cook County Board
In November 2009, we led an organizing and policy effort to encourage Cook County to provide financial resources to support area rape crisis centers. Want to know where services are located within county districts? View a map of rape crisis services in Cook County here.

In May 2010, the County approved our request for $275,000 in grants to support Rape Victim Advocates, Pillars, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Northwest CASA, and Mujeres Latinas en Acción. Again in 2011, CAASE was successful in leading a campaign to ask Cook County to renew this funding. Survivors and advocates described how CAASE’s leadership helped the effort: 

"Without the Cook County funding this year, rape crisis centers would have been forced to make devastating cuts to services to victims. CAASE’s leadership was essential to securing this funding."
-Polly Poskin, Executive Director, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Read more stories from advocates and survivors who benefited from this funding here.

What's Next: Asking the City of Chicago to Support Rape Crisis Services
Currently, CAASE and local rape crisis centers are advocating that the City of Chicago begin supporting rape crisis services. We have created several resources for this effort:

Legislative Resources Regarding Trafficking, Prostitution and Sexual Assault

Reforming Illinois' Human Trafficking Code: Public Act 97-0897 (previously HB 5278): Passed unanimously in the General Assembly, this bill was signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn in August of 2012. It expands the scope of the state involuntary servitude law by including additional means by which a trafficker can obtain or maintain a victim. The bill removes confusing language from the statute and lessens the emphasis placed on force, which will help prosecutors more effectively use the statute. The bill also extends the time limit for prosecutors to bring charges against traffickers in cases involving minors. The passage of this bill will help prosecutors to more effectively utilize the involuntary servitude statute, which in turn will protect victims. Read more about the bill here.

Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Crimes: In 2011, Illinois was the third state in the nation to pass a law to enable victims of sex trafficking to vacate their prostitution convictions. Want to learn more? Read the bill summary here.

  • New Litigation Guide
    Attorneys who are interested in helping survivors of sex trafficking are invited to access a new litigation guide for Illinois’ Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Act. End Demand Illinois created this litigation guide as a resource for attorneys who participated in our trainings. The litigation guide is now available to interested attorneys and gives a step-by-step guide for preparing and filing a petition. Learn more an download the guide here.

    Note: as of January 1, 2013, the human trafficking code in Illinois has been updated in a way that could be useful for attorneys seeking relief on behalf of victims. Anyone using the Litigation Guide will want to also look at the updated law: view a bill summary here.

Illinois Safe Children Act: End Demand Illinois' first legislative initiative, created in partnership with Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, this law ended the practice of charging young people who have been prostituted, and instead requires the child welfare system to investigate the case as human trafficking. You can download a summary of the bill here.

Cook County Human Trafficking Taskforce
CAASE is a member of this local taskforce, which works to “Combat human trafficking through seamless collaboration between federal and state law enforcement and social service providers.”

Our policy work is supported by individual donations to CAASE as well as through grants provided by:

  • Alphawood Foundation Chicago
  • Chicago Foundation for Women
  • Jewish Women's Foundation
  • Full Circle Family Foundation
  • NoVo Foundation