March 2014Volume 24Number 3PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)

Seminar on the commercial sexual exploitation of children

On January 25, 2007, the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) raised a clarion call to action in the fight against human trafficking. In a seminar entitled “The Secret World of Human Trafficking,” presented by the Committee on Women and the Law with co-sponsorships by the Committees on Minority and Women Participation and on Delivery of Legal Services, and the International and Immigration Law, Human Rights and Child Law Sections, the ISBA sought to raise awareness of the blight of human trafficking and urge attorneys to get involved in ending this injustice. Seven years later, on October 10, 2014, the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Racial and Ethnic Minorities & the Law, Administrative Law Section Council, and Standing Committee on Women and the Law propose to conduct another seminar on human trafficking, one which focuses, however, on the plight of children who are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC).

The Standing Committee on Racial and Ethnic Minorities & the Law, the Administrative Law Section Council, and the Standing Committee on Women and the Law have invited several bar and judicial associations to co-sponsors the CSEC seminar, including the American Bar Association, the Black Women Lawyers’ Association (BWLA), the Cook County Bar Association (CCBA), the Illinois Judicial Council (IJC), the National Association of Administrative Law Judges, the National Association of Women Judges, and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI). To date, the Human Trafficking Task Force of the ABA, and the WBAI have joined as co-sponsors, while representatives from BWLA and CCBA have participated in the planning process for the seminar.

As with the 2007 seminar, it is anticipated that a blue-ribbon faculty will raise awareness amongst attendees about the issue of human trafficking generally. The focus will then shift to trafficking in the United States and, particularly, in Chicago, with comprehensive information provided about CSEC. The 2014 seminar will provide attorneys with the skills to: recognize the commercial sexual exploitation of children; detect risk factors; identify and effectively engage victims; and provide appropriate representation to victims. Also, the seminar will include panel discussions on the role of the prosecutor and the role of the court in the fight against trafficking. The planning committee further hopes to challenge judges in general to increase their level of training on the issue of CSEC.

Confirmed speakers to date are Judge Virginia Kendall; the Director of the Salvation Army Promise Program; Professor Jody Raphael; and Chicago Police Detective Al Krok (ret.). The list of invited speakers includes State’s Attorney Lisa Madigan; Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Gary Haugen, President and CEO of the International Justice Mission; and E. Susanne Francis, Psy.D, MBA, Executive Director of Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago. ■

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