You are here

Fighting Sex Trafficking: The Jewish Community Takes a Stand

Fighting Sex Trafficking: The Jewish Community Takes a Stand

Sunday, January 11, 2015 - 2:00 pm

Listen to audio from the program

Sex trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that exists throughout the US and globally. The International Labor Organization estimates that there currently are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation worldwide.

If I am only for myself, then what am I?
And if not now, when?
— Rabbi Hillel, Pirkei Avot, Chapter 1:14

Mobilized by the great words of Rabbi Hillel, this special program was designed to bring this serious topic to the attention of our community. Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Executive Director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), moderated a panel of those on the front lines of this issue. Panelists included Rabbi Rachael Bregman, CAASE Educator Caleb Probst, and Deputy Chief Michael Anton of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police.

As part of this program, the film DEMAND was shown. This documentary — made in conjunction with an investigation by Shared Hope International of the commercial sex trade in the US, Japan, and Jamaica — reveals the impact of buyer demand on sex trafficking. It captures the hard reality of the women and children victimized by the sex trade.

Please note that this program included adult content.

Kaethe Morris HofferKaethe Morris Hoffer has spent twenty years doing legal and political advocacy opposing sex inequality and sexual violence. She has co-authored cutting-edge civil rights laws for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, and has lobbied for legislation at the state and national level and at the United Nations.


Rabbi Rachel BregmanRabbi Rachael Bregman of Temple Beth Tefilloh in Brunswick, GA, has been a leading voice against trafficking by organizing public forums and speaking from the pulpit. Educated at Hebrew Union College in New York and Harvard Graduate School of Education, she has traveled the world with justice organizations including American Jewish World Service.

Caleb ProbstCaleb Probst, an educator, writer, and theater director, facilitates CAASE’s curriculum Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation. This is the nation’s first program designed to engage young men in dialogue about the sex trade and empower them to stand as allies against sexual exploitation and violence.

Deputy Chief Michael Anton
has been with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police for 27 years. He oversees the Vice/Human Trafficking Unit which conducts investigations relating to human trafficking and sex offenses. Under the direction of Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, Deputy Chief Anton and the Vice/Human Trafficking Unit use an innovative approach in addressing the demand side of human trafficking: apprehending johns through reverse street stings and Internet stings. Investigations have resulted in the first arrest and prosecution, first conviction, and first guilty jury trial finding for human trafficking/involuntary servitude of a minor in Illinois.

Recent articles on the issue

Teenagers Stand Up to Backpage
New York Times Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristoff profiles some brave girls who are fighting back in lawsuits that could have far-reaching implications for sex trafficking in America.

If prostitution of children is illegal, why is it that we allow an estimated 100,000 underage girls and boys to be sold for sex in America each year — many on a single American website, MORE>

Time to Take a Stand
Against Sex Trafficking

In The Jewish Week, Beatrice Kahn talks about why the Jewish community needs to help tackle this issue.

It happens at the mall. It happens in the suburbs, the city and the country, in all 50 states. Every day traffickers prey on children, typically between 12 and 14 years old. Victims are from all socio-economic backgrounds, and yes, some are Jewish. MORE>


Resources from organizations and individuals working on fighting sex trafficking will be available after the program: Her Story Theater, Metropolitan Family Services Legal Aid Society, Salvation Army PROMISE Program/Anne’s House, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), Jewish Community Against Sex Trafficking Coalition (JCAST), Chicago North Shore Section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), and Dr. Elizabeth Feldman of the Cook County Jail.


This was the Spertus Institute 2015 Alex and Klara Tulsky Symposium on the Jewish Future. It was presented in partnership with the Jewish Coalition Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) and the National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore Section. JCAST is supported by the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. 




This program was made possible by the Tulsky Family, JCAST, NCJW Chicago North Shore Section, and your ticket fees.