Last week, 200 social service providers, law enforcement, healthcare professionals and committed community members convened at the 3rd annual Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force Conference to tackle the hard issue of human trafficking. The two-day conference aimed to build a comprehensive and targeted response to both sex and labor trafficking by: 1) hosting plenary sessions that delved deeper into the nuances of pimp culture and labor trafficking as it appears across the nation; 2) providing relevant case studies to assess points of access and discuss successful convictions of traffickers; 3) examining the child welfare response to child trafficking; 4) offering law enforcement and healthcare focused workshops; and 5) honing in on effective outreach, interventions and organizational responses to human trafficking.
Speakers included Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, DCFS Human Trafficking Coordinator Stacy Sloan, Tiffany Williams from the Institute for Policy Studies and other local and national leaders in the field. The conference also included a survivor session with DC-based Chicago-born survivor and founder of Courtney’s House, Tina Frundt. Her session served to look closely at the mindsets of pimps and those they choose to control and sell, ultimately bringing real lived experience to the table as the ideal learning scenario for future prevention and intervention.
As a partner of the core team and a facilitator of the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force, we hope to use these lessons learned to better inform our steering committee and subcommittee work. With newly formed labor trafficking and LGBTQ subcommittees charged with better identifying and serving underserved communities, there is much work to be done.
We also want to thank the speakers, attendees and volunteers for truly making the conference a success! Until next year!
Program Specialist, IOFA