Tag Archive: Chicago

City of Chicago and Phanke Chicago Announce “It’s Wrong, Know Your Rights” Campaign

July 11, 2021

CHICAGO – The City of Chicago today announced the City’s first-ever campaign to address and raise awareness about human trafficking and exploitation at a citywide level. This new campaign, “It’s Wrong, Know Your Rights” is aimed at ensuring that victims and survivors who have experienced human trafficking or workplace exploitation understand their rights and see that there are vital resources and services available to them. This targeted and powerful awareness campaign was created through the City and Pahnke Chicago’s pro-bono partnership, “By Chicago, For Chicago”, and will ensure that individuals who have experienced exploitation and/or human trafficking understand their rights by using public signage in high-traffic areas of Chicago.

“People who are currently experiencing or are survivors of human trafficking and exploitation need to know they are not alone, and their City is by their side,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This new campaign will significantly enhance our ability to funnel resources to these individuals, get them out of dangerous situations and prevent others from succumbing to the same fate. Thanks to efforts like these, we will not only be able to protect the lives and safety of those most vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation, but also provide them and survivors with the opportunity they deserve to find stability and healing.”

This campaign will provide the public with information about their rights and the critical City and nonprofit resources services available to them by utilizing digital billboards, public transit signage and a newly created microsite available here. “It’s Wrong, Know Your Rights” will also serve as a catalyst for the ongoing work by Mayor Lightfoot to fight human trafficking on all levels, which has included the City’s first-ever coordinated strategy to combat human trafficking at the citywide level. The strategy includes training all City employees about how to identify and properly address signs of exploitation and trafficking, as well as significant policy changes to better identify, protect, and serve survivors of human trafficking and exploitation.

“Pahnke Chicago is honored to partner with the City of Chicago on what is some of the most important work of our careers,” said Susan Betteridge, Executive Creative Director and Partner at Pahnke Chicago. “The insight that victims of human trafficking often don’t know what they’re experiencing is illegal was the impetus for this forthright creative approach. ‘It’s Wrong. Know Your Rights’ educates victims by illustrating some of the complex realities of human trafficking in simple terms and empowers them to take action.”

“Human trafficking and labor exploitation are a pervasive problem in our society. This campaign helps raise awareness and provide resources to individuals whose rights are violated,” said Catherine Longkumer, Managing Attorney at Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services. “I commend Mayor Lightfoot and her team for acknowledging the problem of human trafficking and their commitment to use the city’s resources to help find solutions.”

Starting today, digital billboards will be visible from Chicago’s expressways. There will also be digital signage throughout the city at over 50 different locations, in both English and Spanish. Additional signage will also be posted on CTA trains, buses, and at bus shelter locations, and will also be in both English and Spanish. These messages will be aimed at grabbing the attention of pedestrians and drivers and will include both the City’s website where anyone can go to better understand their rights and what exploitation or human trafficking can look like, as well as to the National Human Trafficking hotline.


Get the downloadable PDF from Chicago’s Office of the Mayor

Justice for Trafficking Victims: ‘Guardian Angels’ Provide Shelter, Seek Solutions 

April 6, 2021

Kris Wade was only 18 years old when she left home with $30 in her pocket. She boarded a train to Chicago, Illinois, and, within minutes of arriving at Dearborn Station, was approached by a man who offered her a place to stay and something to eat. “I’d spent all my money on the train ticket and had only $1 left, so I followed him,” Kris says. “He bought me a hot dog and took me to a two-bedroom apartment on the third floor of a neighborhood in the city’s North end.” The apartment turned out to be a hub for drug dealers and small-time gang members who were running a prostitution ring from the building.

“I came from a loving family of fabulous parents and was an honor roll student and president of the debate team in high school,” Kris says. “But I wanted to be on my own. Within a day of leaving home, I fell in with drug dealers. I was at their mercy for a long time.”

Kris managed to escape, but not before witnessing a murder. “I have my parents to thank for taking me back,” she says. “Unlike other women, I have a family that loved and cared about me. Many women in similar circumstances have no home and no one to turn to.”

Now 69, Kris is one of the lucky ones. After escaping her abductors, she put herself through college, earned a degree in criminal justice and became a fierce advocate for homeless female trafficking survivors, working closely with Sisters of Mercy who are also engaged in the fight. “What happened to me is as prevalent today as it was 50 years ago,” she says. “Human trafficking has been going on for thousands of years.”

Read the full article by Deborah Herz from ¡Viva! Mercy (PDF)