Posted by rpjr on Jul 06, 2017
Elizabeth McKay’s 7/6/17 presentation told of Human Trafficking giving surprising statistics and examples...which affects even we suburbanites.  As she phrased it, “slavery still exists”, is profitable, and is growing.  Now called Human Trafficking, it Includes people in Far East who catch and peal shrimp to sex trafficking closer to home.  (See Daily Herald articles Aug. 11, 2016, Oct. 4 and 16 for examples).   She encouraged us to be wary and alert for signs of abuse or involvement, even with regard to our children, and to speak out when we get the opportunity.  For details and information, including signs of involvement and contact information, click "More".
Items and statistics she mentioned given an insight into the nature and extent of the situation.
  • It’s $150 billion globally, and the fastest criminal activity in the world – low risk, easy, and very profitable.The National Human Trafficking Hotline reported 7,500 cases in 2016, with California and Texas being the worst states.U.S. Justice Dept. says this is a $9.5 billion activity in the U.S.It’s second to drugs as the most lucrative illegal activity.According to the FBI, 100,000 youth in the U.S. are involved.Recruiting goes on via internet games, at shopping centers, schools, parks, and through social media and referrals from “friends”.Chicago is second behind Las Vegas in trafficking.
  • The other side of the trade is consumers.We’ve seen stories of local food markets selling slave-peeled shrimp.There have been stories about the purchase of sex.Examples are the sting operations at two Arlington Heights motels, Schaumburg, Lake County, and Aurora.It’s said that about 15% of men buy sex, with the highest traffic on-line being 2 p.m. The significant online sites are Backpage and Craig’s list.Some progress is being made, especially by Cook County Sherriff Tom Dart through his trying to get credit card companies to refuse to process charges for sex ads, and by his efforts to persuade web sites not to post such ads.
  • Some men and boys are trafficked as are girls and women.In Chicago, about 24,500 women and girls are involved in commercial sexual exploitation annually.Average entry age is 12-14.1/3 are involved by the age of 15, 62% by the age of 18.There is also trafficking in such areas as agricultural labor.
  • Prime recruits are runaways.They are usually trafficked within 48 hours.Such kids want stability and someone to look up to.A grooming process takes place.Any child is vulnerable.They’re recruited on the internet, in schools, parks, malls and shopping centers such as Woodfield.Any child is vulnerable.Some may be living at home or attending school.3% are kidnapped, 35% are turned by family members, 62% are tricked by another person.A pimp manages 2-30 victims a day, who must fill a quota averaging $500/ day.A 16 year old averages 20 transactions a day.
  • Why do the stay involved?It becomes a lifestyle.Addiction is often a factor (alcohol or drugs).A girl believes her handler loves her, she gets food and shelter, and her family may be threatened.The effect can be long term, similar to PTSD.Some recover, so do not.This slavery is fought by publicity, making resources known to victims, and takes time/intervention.McKay said we can help in a variety of way, from supplying food and funds to shelters, by speaking out, and by being alert and observant.It’s also helpful to talk to men and boys about sexual abuse and healthy relationships.There are some Centers dealing with this.Staffing often comes from those who had been trafficked.She cited the Dream Catcher Foundation (see flyer below).Some schools have awareness programs for staff and students, but several (locally) do not.
Some signs and symptoms of trafficking for teachers, parents, coaches and family members are
  • Unexplained gifts, jewelry or cell phones
  • A controlling boyfriend or relationship
  • Vague and inconsistent stories about activities and whereabouts
  • Marked changes in behavior and speech
  • Hidden phone/computer communications
  • Online presence indicates sexual activity
  • Chronically runs away from home
  • Unexplained absences from school.
Red flags for medical personnel, service providers and the public
  • Signs of abuse or neglect
  • Won’t make eye contact
  • Responses and IDs are controlled by someone else
  • The person appears afraid, depressed, nervous, defensive
  • Branded with an unexplained tattoo.
  • The person implies that there has been sex for money
It is suggested that if you see any number of these signs, do not intervene directly.  Instead call 888-373-7888 or text INFO or HELP to 233-733 (according to the Trafficked Teens project of the Northshore Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, or email to where calls can be anonymous and confidential.
McKay lives in Inverness/Palatine, and among other things has been active and involved in Harper College, local Girl Scout councils.  She can be reached by,, 847-902-9232.