I am excited to report that Gov. Pat Quinn signed a human trafficking reform bill into law – House Bill 5278 — on August 4. The state law clarifies the definition of sex trafficking to include traffickers who use coercive schemes and tactics to control and intimidate their victims. The clearer definition will allow for more effective prosecution of traffickers, which will result in greater protection for their prostituted victims.
This legislation marks the third bill in three years to be passed as part of End Demand Illinois, a campaign headed by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.
As a partner in the End Demand campaign, CCH’s Prostitution Alternatives Round Table (PART) led the legislative advocacy to pass HB 5278. I keep a constant presence in Springfield during the legislative session, collaborating with allies and explaining the importance of the bill to legislators. Community organizer Rachel Ramirez works with prostitution survivors, bringing the women to Springfield to meet with legislators and testify at committee hearings.
Started in 2002, PART addresses the intersection of poverty, homelessness, gender violence, and prostitution, and seeks to create better options for individuals who are impacted by the sex trade.
You can learn more in a new 7-minute documentary called “Not for Sale,” which features interviews with Brenda Myers-Powell of the Dreamcatcher Foundation, and myself. Created by youth members of Free Spirit Media and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the film examines issues surrounding youth and sex trafficking in Chicago.
–Not for sale
Daria Mueller, Associate Director of Policy – State Affairs