It was 11 PM on a Tuesday. I was working as the on-call prosecutor on the overnight shift and was called out to a scene by police officers who had conducted an undercover sting. They had just detained two girls who had solicited them for sex.
The officers had arrested one girl who had just turned 18. The other girl was under 18—she wasn’t arrested because we had a policy not to charge minors with prostitution. I let the officers know that they needed to contact child welfare about the minor and that a dependency matter would be initiated.
The Just Exits Initiative
is demonstrating that another path is possible for survivors. We are closing on ramps to and building off ramps from sexual exploitation by:
Educating criminal justice professionals on exploitation dynamics
Collaborating with communities to ensure survivor access to services
Implementing best practices in pilot jurisdictions
Measuring data to make meaningful, continuous improvements
Why we are here
Violence, inequality, and a lack of support lead survivors into "the Life." Criminal records, substance abuse, and coercion prevent them from leaving it. Prosecutors have an opportunity—and a responsibility—to provide pathways out of exploitation.
"I think I had reached a point where I was just tired. I was four years being in a system and feeling invisible. I just needed someone to hear me."
Our resources translate the latest research and innovation into practical tools that can be relied upon by policymakers and practitioners to close on ramps to and build off ramps from sexual exploitation in the criminal justice system
Read first-hand accounts of the lived and professional experiences of Attorney Advisors, advisors, advocates, practitioners, and experts.
Don't Give Up Before Your Miracle Arrives
When I was arrested 22 years ago and ultimately sentenced to two years in prison, I was 29 years old. I had been trafficked by the father of my…
Publications & Briefs
Our articles and reports shape the legal foundation, ethical analysis, and multidisciplinary expertise to elevate the response to sexually exploited women and girls.
Forced Criminality: Understanding Human Trafficking Through the Lens of Utah's Victor Rax Case
Learn how traffickers force victims to engage in criminal behavior and employ victim-centered strategies to hold traffickers accountable.
Learn about the dynamics of sexual exploitation, how it provides context for criminal activity, and how it factors into the criminal justice response from AEquitas staff, advisors, and other experts.
Being Trafficked: What You Need to Know About Being in "the Life"
The presenters bring their lived and professional experience to this presentation, which focuses on factors that impact entry into “the Life”, the realities of sexual exploitation and trafficking, and the factors that impede or delay exits.
Tools and Templates
We develop and curate tools to implement and measure criminal justice responses to sexual exploitation.
Tools and Templates
We develop and deliver customized trainings to prosecutors' offices, law enforcement agencies, and allied professionals and speak at state and national conferences on trafficking and exploitation.
2022 Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force Virtual Conference