Human Trafficking


Human trafficking is a clandestine international business, and the market for sexual exploitation is thriving in Chicago.

The Windy City’s central geographical location makes it a national “port” for prostitution and smuggling. The Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues also attributes Chicago’s airport and elaborate transportation infrastructure to the problem.

“A lot of men are purchasing sex in Chicago,” said Rachel Durchslag, the executive director and founder of the Chicago Association Against Sexual Exploitation, in an interview with Niagara.

Exactly how many men is difficult to pin down, given the nature of the underground market, but CAASE estimates that in Chicago, somewhere between 16,000-24,000 women and girls are involved in commercial sex trade annually, which includes sex trafficking and prostitution.

“And the prostitutes continue to be the ones getting blamed,” Durchslag said.

She founded CAASE in 2006 to investigate the demand for sex trafficking and eliminate the market. The organization has campaigned to hold the perpetrators, rather than the prostitutes, accountable for the crimes. Durchslag said in many cases, women turn to prostitution when they are young after leaving a violent home situation or falling in love with a man who turns out to be a pimp.

By Cassidy Herrington

11:30am- 1:00pm

Lunch will be served.

205 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 4240
Chicago, IL, US, 60601

The views and opinions expressed on The Falls are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Niagara Foundation, its staff, other authors, members, partners, or sponsors.