Prostitution Alternatives Round Table
Prostitution Alternatives Round Table (PART) advocates for initiatives that enable people to quit prostituting to survive. It proposes laws that no longer favor the typically male customer and trafficker over the woman or youth being prostituted. It proposes rehabilitative programs that divert women from jail or prison so that they can restore their lives and keep families intact.
Senior Community Organizer Rachel Ramirez runs outreach at shelters for survivors and women ex-offenders. With survivors’ help, PART has shepherded significant state legislation, including the 2007 “First Offender Probation” law. PART led Springfield advocacy for End Demand Illinois, passing four bills in four years: the 2010 “Illinois Safe Children Act,” the 2011 “Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Crimes Act,” and 2012 legislation strengthening anti-trafficking laws (HB 5278). In 2013, our SAGE leaders led End Demand’s organizing to enact SB 1872 that, effective August 2013, ended felony-level prostitution charges in Illinois. In 2014, SAGE leaders secured a senate sponsor for an End Demand bill (Senate Bill 3558) that allocates fines and impound fees toward funding services for survivors.
PART worked with Cook County judges to create the WINGS felony prostitution court, a first in the Midwest. Opened in 2011, it offered restorative programs to women who completed two years’ probation with the court. When Illinois ended felony-level prostitution in mid-2013, PART worked with the Cook County state’s attorney’s office to plan a misdemeanor prostitution court that also offers specialized services. Opened in June 2015, the Chicago Prostitution and Trafficking Intervention Court is convened at Cook County’s Domestic Violence Courthouse, 555 W. Harrison Street.
PART convenes a steering committee of agencies that advocate or assist prostitution survivors and trafficked women. The project’s support include project-specific grants (FYs10-14) given by the Sisters of Charity, BVM, as recommended by an advocacy partner, Project IRENE.