Monday, October 4, 2010

Conference Recap; Cook County State's Attorney, Anita Alvarez Announces Partnership with IOFA

Hi all,

Thanks to all of you who attended last weeks Child Trafficking Conference at Loyola University and for attending the IOFA-related presentations and events. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak about the Building Child Welfare Response to Child Trafficking project with our partner, Katherine Kaufka Walts at the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University. As mentioned, The purpose of the project is to address systemic gaps in policies, protocols, and practice for proper identification and response to child and youth victims of trafficking within child welfare systems. Our first implementing partner was the Illinois Department for Child and Family Services and we have received a continuation grant of $37,000 from the Chicago Community Trust for meeting the final project outcomes.

IOFA and CHRC will publish a monograph outlining the BCWR project in October 2010. It will be available online and by order via CHRC. Be on the look out for an upcoming announcement on how to order and access copies.

We had a slight change of plans for the evening film event. Guy Jacobson had to return to Israel for a family medical emergency. In his place, we screened his latest documentary, Redlight, in it's entirety. Around 50 people showed up for the event, with a good cross section of professionals, students, and the general public. We will be talking about the film on the blog in the near future, particularly about the use of children in films where they are required to talk about traumatic experiences without protection of their identities. The film was very intense and the audience was very overwhelmed by the end of it. If you attended the event, we welcome feedback on your experience, what you thought of who participated in the film, and any other issues related to the content. A beautifully filmed piece that begs further discussion.

Finally, IOFA is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Cook County State's Attorney's office and the Salvation Army, in support of the new Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking Grant funded by the Office of Victims of Crime at the Department of Justice. IOFA will be supporting these two organizations in facilitation of the grant and will help to develop and manage a county-wide anti-trafficking task force. For 10 years, IOFA has built collaborative and interdisciplinary task forces in the US and around the world for the purposes of better victim identification, response, and prosecution of human trafficking cases. As the key note speaker, Cook County State Attorney, Anita Alvarez announced the partnership with IOFA and the Salvation Army during her opening remarks on day one of the conference. We will bring on a new staff person to serve as our IOFA Program Specialist to help both partners implement the project in the coming years. Very exciting news. We'll be officially announcing the details of this new project in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned to IOFA-Talk to learn more about our new strategic plan, upcoming projects, and new staff and interns coming on board!


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