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|Human Trafficking Outreach Day Saturday
|(IRN)-Saturday marks the sixth annual statewide Human Trafficking Outreach Day in Illinois aimed at raising awareness of the problem.
"It's I think categorized as No. 2 in terms of largest criminal industry in the world," said Illinois Department of Human Services assistant secretary Grace Hou.
The U.S. government estimates that about 800,000 victims are trafficked across international borders each year. But it's not just an international issue. About 20,000 American women and girls are estimated to be victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Chicago annually.
"It may be sexual exploitation, it may be labor exploitation. It's a variety of situations that folks can find themselves in," said Hou. "And so as a result, the diversity of communities is there as well. And I think that that adds to the complexity of the solution because we can't say well it's just Chicago, or it's just Rockford, or it's just East St. Louis, or it's just smaller communities. We think there's a potential in a wide variety of communities," she said.
Hou says instances of kidnapping, manipulation, coercion, false promises and so on drive human trafficking. She says women and children are prime targets for traffickers.
"It's mostly common that we see male traffickers that are forcing women and girls into (the sex trade)," said Lisa Fedina, project coordinator for Illinois Rescue and Restore. "But we also see female traffickers who also force other women and children into the sex trade. And as far as labor trafficking, they can be business owners, restaurant owners, nail salon owners."
For more information, visit www.dhs.state.il.us/rescueandrestore.
(Source: Illinois Radio Network)
|04 21 11 by Newsroom
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