I'm running a half marathon to benefit a tiny yet mighty non-profit in Chicago where I interned in 2011.
In the last semester of my social work program, I completed a policy internship at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation with CAASE's amazing Policy Director, Lynne Johnson. At CAASE I learned through direct hands on work and this experience allowed me to work in a policy role today in the Chicago area. Through my work at CAASE I met with U.S. Representatives on a federal domestic trafficking bill, lobbied the Cook County board to fund rape crisis centers, and worked on a research project exploring the Cook County Sheriff's unique program of assisting local trafficking victims while simultaneously cracking down more on the local buyers of sex. The report, written in collaboration with Jody Raphael, Research Fellow at the DePaul College of Law, can be located here: http://www.law.depaul.edu/centers_institutes/family_law/reports_publications.asp
Although CAASE is small, it is a nationally recognized organization doing important work on this issue finally gaining traction. In addition to the policy work, I feel most strongly about the work CAASE does in local schools to educate high school males about the harms of the sex trade, working to stem the future demand for commercial sex. On the policy side, Lynne Johnson and CAASE have had a lot of success with state laws including a law to treat minors engaged in the sex trade as victims instead of criminals (IL Safe Children Act), a law to offer individuals charged with prositution who are actually victims of trafficking a way to vacate their convictions, and finally just this year, a law to treat prostiutution charges as misdemeanors instead of a felonies, something most states were already in line with and an important step assist people to breakfree of the sextrade.
I'd much appreciate if you could assist with supporting this organization I very much believe in while also supporting me in my goal to run 13 miles for the first time ever! CAASE has under ten employees and all funds go very important work.