Columbia Links Teen Journalists Reveal Findings on Adult and Teen Trafficking in Illinois

Reports spotlight problems, lack of resources in responding to shadowy enterprises and new legislation to combat it

CHICAGO (Nov. 5, 2014) – The Columbia Links teen journalism program at Columbia College Chicago will host a town hall meeting, "Human Trafficking: Teens Caught in the Shadows", Thursday, Nov. 6 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss their findings on the prevalence of human trafficking in Chicago.

According to the UIC Jane Addams Hull House for Social Research and Policy, Chicago is one of the major hubs for sex and labor slavery in the U.S., and the teen journalists look at the stories behind the numbers. Some of these include:

  • An interview with a former trafficked teen who became a trafficker as an adult.
  • A look inside, a website currently at the center of lawsuits filed by teen girls in separate states who claim they were sold for sex.
  • A story about Anne’s House, which houses eight of only 12 beds in the state of Illinois for women who need shelter to escape sex slavery or prostitution
  • A profile of a crusader for children who says foster care and a latchkey culture are pipelines to sex trafficking.
  • A look ahead at the anticipated impact of the human trafficking bill signed by Governor Quinn earlier this year that takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, targeting consumers, known as “johns,” rather than the victims.

Renee Ferguson, former NBC5 investigative reporter, will serve as moderator

  • Six Columbia Links teen reporters (visit for full listing)
  • Brenda Myers-Powell, founder of The Dreamcatcher Foundation
  • Kalyani Gopal, clinical psychologist and president of SAFE (Sex-Trafficking Awareness, Freedom and Empowerment) Coalition for Human Rights
  • Al Krok, retired detective and consultant on the commercial sexual exploitation of children
  • Christine Evans, legal director for the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)
  • Cmdr. William Leen of the Cook County Sheriff’s Vice Unit

Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, 5:30 p.m.

Music Center Concert Hall
Columbia College Chicago
1014 S. Michigan Ave.

Media is invited, and the event is open to the public. Reservations required. Please RSVP at

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Columbia College Chicagois an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts for more than 10,000 students in 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information,