IDCFS Recognizes Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

On Friday, January 28, Illinois DCFS joined advocates and volunteers at a candlelight vigil in Calumet Park, Illinois in recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The event, organized by Dr. Kisha Roberts-Tabb with Roberts-Tabb & Associates, took place to shine a light on the issue of domestic human trafficking. Packets that include toiletries and information about substance abuse services, shelter care programs and human trafficking referral services were distributed to people in need. Runaway youth, youth in care and homeless youth are especially vulnerable to human trafficking.

In Fiscal Year 2021, Illinois DCFS investigated 309 allegations of human trafficking of children, 127 of those in Cook County – a number experts believe is lower than the true number of incidents. Often, victims of human trafficking do not seek help because they are fearful, ashamed of their situation, distrust law enforcement or become dependent on the perpetrator. The Illinois Safe Children Act ensures that all children who are lured or coerced into prostitution/human trafficking are innocent and immune from criminal prosecution; and will be placed in the child welfare system instead of the criminal justice system.

Know the Signs:

• Have an adult control them by speaking for them

• Seem out of place given the time of day or night

• Look disheveled or dressed in clothes that they could not afford to buy

• Show signs of physical abuse such as bruising or red marks

• Not possess any form of identification

• Perform inappropriate work for their age and not be compensated

To report the suspected human trafficking of a child under the age of 21, call the Illinois DCFS Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE (22873). To report the suspected human trafficking of an adult over age 21, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

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