Friday, February 1, 2013

Take on Super Bowl Sexism via Twitter

As America gears up for the Super Bowl this weekend, once again there will be discussions about which Super Bowl commercial generated most sales and which one was the sexiest. These ratings and entertainment will once again become the talk of millions of living rooms where people from both sexes, young and old, who will be watching the game together.

According to Miss Representation, almost half of the Super Bowl audience is women, and they exercise more purchasing power than their male counterparts. Some of the most expensive and much-awaited ads will once again reinforce sexual objectification of the female body. Many women (and men!) continue to feel let down by the advertisers that repeatedly perpetuate sexual stereotypes, with false assumptions about their audience. Viewers will have a choice—do we shrug and look away, or take action?

Miss Representation is inviting you to tweet about it. This Sunday, as you are watching the big game, look for disparity in the representation of women and men. Point out sexism as it happens and express your disapproval via Twitter. Use the hashtag #NotBuyingIt with #SuperBowl to call out the offensive and sexist ads in real-time.

Many women enjoy watching football, and it’s time to let the NFL know that we’re watching closely. There must be a better way to make football great for all, instead of glorifying the power of male players while merely objectifying women.

What do you think—will you watch the Super Bowl? (Or maybe just the ads?) We’ll be tweeting along with you on Sunday!

This post was written by Shobhana Johri Verma, a CAASE volunteer. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chicago Man Charged with Sex Trafficking of Minors

Photo from
A Chicago man pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of four female victims, two of whom are minors. Carl Brandon Smith now faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison after pleading guilty to transporting a minor from Wisconsin to Illinois for prostitution. This case is another sign of progress as law enforcement is identifying and prosecuting traffickers, as well as further evidence that traffickers bring victims to Chicago to meet the high demand for paid sex. 

Last year, we saw Alex Campbell sentenced to life in prison for trafficking women in a fake massage establishment in Mt. Prospect, a suburb of Chicago.  These cases prove that sexual slavery is happening internationally, nationally, as well as locally.  It is happening all around the United States, in our own cities. These victims subjugated in the commercial sex industry, being manipulated and exploited for little or no money, are not only being brought into the United States from other countries. Every single day, pimps like Smith are recruiting abused and vulnerable girls around the country sometimes by posing as their boyfriend (Smith admits to have done that), caretaker, or rescuer from an abusive or dysfunctional home only to later subject them to a life of sexual slavery and violence.

According to Trafficking in Persons Report 2011, thousands of underage victims in the United States are often “runaways, troubled, and homeless youth” who are lured, coerced through physical and sexual violence into the sex trade through pimps who traffic them across state borders. People who buy sex from these young people are the main source of this problem, and yet they are rarely held accountable for the harm they cause. 

These young women are regularly physically and sexually abused by their pimps / traffickers as well as customers as evident from Smith's statement who admits to have inflicted physical violence on his victims especially when one of them gave him “attitude” or when she indicated that she no longer wanted to work as a prostitute. On one occasion, Smith beat Victim A so severely that her eye swelled shut. The experiences of Campbell's and Smith's trafficking victims bring into light the nature of violence and coercion that persists in sex trade, and this motivates us to continue to encourage law enforcement to steer their resources toward pimps, johns, and traffickers.
It is important that we recognize the painful and degenerating experiences of these victims and provide them with much needed support and counseling instead of incarcerating them through the law enforcement authorities.

This post was written by CAASE volunteer Shobhana Johri Verma.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Timantha Leads DePaul Chapter at CAASE

Timantha Tran
When college students learn about sexual exploitation, many are moved to take action. CAASE provides several opportunities for people to take action, including CAASE College Chapters.

The chapters are formed by college students on their campuses to raise awareness about issues of prostitution, sex trafficking and sexual assault and to mobilize their college community to take action.. Timantha Tran has led her campus chapter at DePaul University with great success. Timantha, who is majoring in Peace, Justice, and Conflict and minoring in Public Law.

“When I first got to DePaul and spoke to students about human trafficking, they didn’t even know it existed here in Chicago,” Timantha said. The DePaul chapter has hosted film screenings and informational meetings about the issue of sexual exploitation in Chicago and donated supplies to organizations that help victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking.

Currently, the chapter is planning a discussion panel that will feature CAASE’s Executive Director Rachel Durchslag along with other agency directors in the community. Additionally they are hoping to host a talent show that will feature students from various local colleges utilizing their own talents to bring awareness to this issue.

Timantha and the DePaul CAASE Chapter members are great examples of how one college community can greatly impact others and bring awareness to the issue of sexual exploitation. To find out more about how to start a CAASE chapter on your campus contact us at

This post was written by Lisa Wilson, CAASE community engagement intern.