Thursday, June 2, 2011

Help CAASE Celebrate our 5th Birthday!

This summer, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation is celebrating our 5th birthday. You’ve helped us achieve many successes in our first few years, including empowering young men to end exploitation, offering legal counsel to survivors of sexual assault and advocating for just laws to help victims of sex trafficking. Now you can help CAASE thrive even more in the next 5!

5 ways to support CAASE now:

1.    Give: Whether you can donate $5, $50 or $500, your gift in honor of CAASE’s birthday will make a big difference. Giving $5 a week to CAASE? Piece of cake! Donate here>>

2.    Learn: Bring a friend to one of this week’s events with Rachel Lloyd from GEMS. Rachel will inspire and inform as she describes her compelling new book, Girls Like Us. Use this as an opportunity to introduce friends to the movement to end sex trafficking. Both events (June 8-9) are free. More details here>>

3.    Party: Speaking of cake, join us for a CAASE birthday party fundraiser Wednesday, July 6 with drinks and sweets. Learn more>>

4.    Friend-raise: Ask your friends to “like” CAASE on Facebook. How, you ask? A nifty call to action could be: “One of my favorite organizations, the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, is celebrating their 5th birthday. Click CAASE’s “like” button to learn more about their local work fighting sexual exploitation:” See, simple! Go to Facebook>>

5.    Work Out: Sign up for personal training sessions through Organa Wellness during June, July or August they will donate 15% of proceeds to CAASE. Mention CAASE when you call and receive one free session with the purchase of a 12-week package.  Learn more at

Bonus idea: Do you love fundraising? We’re always looking for people like you. Check out our list of fundraising ideas here. Have an idea and want to get involved? Email

THANK YOU for all you do to support CAASE :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dear New York Times: Stop Blaming Women in Prostitution for Violence

Violence against women in prostitution is a daily reality, not a rare threat. The New York Times portrayed the serial killing of prostituted women as exceptional cases of violence (Discovery of Bodies on Long Island Is Stoking Fear, May 30, 2011). Unfortunately, many women in prostitution have experienced violence at the hands of pimps, johns, traffickers and even the police. These murders are horrifying, but equally disturbing are the reporter’s assumptions about the lives of prostituted women.
In the opening paragraphs, the reporter blames women for not being more careful and assumes that women can exit the trade at any time:
The discovery of bodies on Long Island has cast a light on the illicit sex trade, forcing many women to rethink what they do and broaden whatever precautions they may take.
Most women don’t choose to stay in prostitution, but instead are faced with no other options. A study in Chicago revealed that most women would exit the sex trade if other opportunities were available to them. Another group revealed that their average age of entry into prostitution was 16. When prostituted women are controlled by violent pimps, poverty and addiction, they have no viable way to leave.
It’s time for reporters to seek the truth about women and girls who are exploited in the sex trade.
The NYT reporter’s description of a woman dialing her pimp on speakerphone for “protection” during a date with a volatile john is absolutely heartbreaking. Any discerning reader would recognize that this tactic offers a woman no real protection from rape or murder. As the pimp is listening in, his thoughts are undoubtedly on one thing—his expectation that she bring home the money. If she doesn’t deliver, there will certainly be consequences. Does this sound like a choice to you?
Instead of blaming women for their experiences of violence, we must examine a system that leaves them without any choices. In Illinois, CAASE and our End Demand Illinois campaign are proposing a network of resources for prostituted people and refocusing law enforcement’s attention to the people who create a demand for the sex trade—pimps, johns and traffickers. Demand that our media take a closer look at the demand side of the sex trade. To learn more, visit