The Salvation Army Helps Victims in First Human Trafficking Conviction in Illinois

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Big news coming from Illinois –

The Salvation Army Chicago has assisted in a case that resulted in the state’s first human trafficking conviction.

The victims, 17 and 18 year-old females, have received help from The Salvation Army’s STOP-IT (The Salvation Army’s Trafficking Outreach Program and Intervention Techniques) Program, which offers psychological and medical treatment, educational services and vocational training for victims of the sex trade. The offenders were convicted of Class I felony charges and each sentenced to several years in prison.

Illinois State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez thanked the STOP-IT Program for their assistance in this case and cooperation with other agencies. Read the full story at The Salvation Army Chicago’s blog here.

According to the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated minimum of 16,000-25,000 women and girls are victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Chicago every year. We hope this groundbreaking court decision is the first of many in bringing offenders to justice and helping restore the lives of exploited survivors.

The Salvation Army’s national website offers a wealth of information and tools to educate and equip people on the subject of trafficking, as well as what we’re doing to fight it. Under the “Programs That Help” tab, visit “Combating Human Trafficking,” or simply click here for a direct link.

To learn more about Chicago’s STOP-IT Program, visit www.usc.salvationarmy.org/stopit .

If this is a cause you’d like to get involved with, check out The Salvation Army’s “The Daily Cup” app for smart phones. It’s free and provides the latest info on social justice issues, including human trafficking. Download it here.

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Anne’s House Provides Escape, Hope for the Young and Exploited

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This week The Salvation Army Chicago Metropolitan Division will open Anne’s House, one of the few residential homes in the country to offer support for sexually exploited young women.

It will provide a welcome escape for females between the ages of 12 and 21 from the abusive and enslaving world of prostitution.

Girls and women that young caught in prostitution? It’s something we tend to imagine only happens in less developed foreign countries – certainly not our own. But the Chicago Tribune estimates “as many as 16,000 young people are involved in the sex trade in Chicago.” And that’s just Chicago.

But at Anne’s House they will find opportunities to help turn their lives around. Here The Salvation Army will offer them a safe place, attention of a caring staff of caseworkers and counselors, and educational classes and training.

We’re excited for this new facility’s opening and the invaluable support it will provide to women in much need of help!

For more information about how The Salvation Army is battling sexual exploitation and human trafficking, visit our national website here.

Learn more about how The Salvation Army of Chicago is serving their local community by visiting their website at www.salarmychicago.org.

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Safe from the Streets

Monday, September 27, 2010

After decades of being trapped in prostitution, two women from Omaha finally escaped the streets with the help of The Salvation Army.

Today we’re sharing a little bit of their stories, as published by Omaha’s local news channel KETV ABC 7, of how they turned their lives around.

For general information on The Salvation Army’s work to fight abuse and exploitation, click here. For specific information on The Salvation Army of Omaha and its Wellspring Program, visit their website www.givesalvationarmy.org.

Former Prostitutes Tout Program As Lifesaver
Wellspring Program Helps Get Women Off Streets

KETV 7

September 27, 2010

OMAHA, Neb. — Two women, who have been working the streets of Omaha as prostitutes for more than 10 years, said they found a way out through a program sponsored by The Salvation Army.

The women said they realized their lives were going nowhere and were just getting worse. They said they got help from the Wellspring program.

With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, they wanted to get their stories out.

Delores (not her real name) is about 45 years old. The high school graduate and one-time college student worked the streets for more than a decade.

“While enrolled in college, I just got mixed up with the wrong people and from there it went downhill,” she said.

Delores said she turned to drugs and then to prostitution. She said she couldn’t stop.

“It was a very dangerous life I was living,” she said.

Cece (also a pseudonym) has a similar story.

“It was like an adventure. It was fun. I was like getting this money. It was fast and I really didn’t have to do nothing to get it,” she said.

Cece was a prostitute for nearly 20 years. She said what started out as being fun, eventually proved otherwise.

“Throughout those 20 years, I’ve been stabbed, I’ve been raped, I’ve been shot at,” she said. “By the grace of God, I’m sitting here telling my story today.”

If it weren’t for the Salvation Army’s Wellspring program, both women said there is no telling where they’d be.

“Prostitution isn’t a choice,” said Mary Raynovich, the director of Wellspring. “We find that it’s really about a lack of choices.”

Raynovich said she works with as many as 100 women every month. About 73 percent of them have been sexually abused and roughly 90 percent of them are chemically addicted, she said.

But, no matter how troubled some of the women are, Raynovich said they are not a lost cause.

“No matter how long you’ve been on the street, there’s hope. You can get off the street,” said Raynovich.

“I believe that if I reach out and let them (other prostitutes) know that there is hope, they will have something to cling to,” said Cece.

“If it wasn’t for our case manager in the program, I know I would still be lost,” Delores said. “I would still be out there, or dead.”

The stories from women like Cece and Delores have helped the Salvation Army secure a $25,000 grant for the Wellspring program. The check will be presented at the end of October.

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2010 World Cup: The Salvation Army’s Work in South Africa

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Have you gotten caught up in the excitement of the 2010 World Cup? Are you soaking up each match as nations battle it out in the Group Stage, vying for a coveted spot to progress to the second round? Have you immersed yourself in World Cup trivia and player stats and even learned about South African culture (with your vuvuzela in hand)?

Whether you’re actively following the soccer games or just happen to catch headlines splashed across the news, almost everyone is at some degree aware of the global rivalry playing out across our TV screens.

At The Salvation Army, many of us have also enjoyed watching the games in our spare time – I was more than just a little happy to see the United States tie with England on Saturday! But The Salvation Army’s interest in the games extends beyond a mere competitive spirit.

The Salvation Army has been working in the communities of South Africa since 1883 to provide feeding programs, homes for babies and children with HIV/Aids, shelters for homeless people, community development projects, and much more.

But of more recent concern surrounding the 2010 World Cup is an increase in human trafficking. This, unfortunately, is many times an unintended consequence of major sporting events which draws a huge influx of tourists and an immense demand for sexual services. Additional factors specific to South Africa also contribute, including widespread poverty and relaxed visa requirements.

[Red Card]
The Salvation Army is passing out ‘Red Cards’ at the 2010 World Cup as a part of our anti-trafficking campaign.

Therefore, The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory has been working tirelessly for more than a year to ramp up their anti-trafficking campaign in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup. Its focus is twofold: Prevention and Awareness.

* Prevention: The Salvation Army is hosting Holiday Clubs and soccer clinics to keep children off the streets, providing them a safe place where they will be less vulnerable to fall prey to traffickers. Safe houses for women and children are also available.

* Awareness: The Salvation Army has spent the past year and a half educating communities on the threat of trafficking through conversation and teaching. We also launched a toll free number 08000-RESCU (73728), which is a hotline for both victims of trafficking as well as a platform for community members with ‘tips’ about trafficking in their neighborhood.

During the World Cup we are handing out ‘Red Cards’ warning against trafficking, as well as advertising our message on soccer balls, vuvuzelas, and water bottles.

The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory is also engaged in other outreach activities during the games, including street ministry, soccer clinics, Kids Clubs, and their usual community programs.

To learn more about how The Salvation Army is working to assist South Africans and make the 2010 World Cup safer for everyone, click HERE.

You can also visit The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory’s website at http://www.salvationarmy.org.za/.

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