Chicago, Illinois — Polaris and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas (CCOA), (NYSE:CCO) a subsidiary of iHeart Media, Inc., together with Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, today launched a four week anti-human trafficking awareness campaign to run on over 20 digital billboards across the city of Chicago and throughout Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). The campaign alerts victims how to reach out for help through the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) (1-888-373-7888), and informs local residents of the facts surrounding the true nature of modern day slavery, including that human trafficking is a major problem in Illinois, and throughout the US, 365 days a year.
The estimated $150 billion a year trafficking industry forces approximately 20.9 million people worldwide to live in modern day slavery. In 2016, human trafficking was reported in all 50 states—with 198 cases of human trafficking reported to the NHTH from Illinois, a 64 percent increase over all of 2015 when 121 cases were reported. In total, the NHTH has received reports of 941 cases of human trafficking from Illinois since 2007.
In a news conference earlier today held in downtown Chicago, Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti was joined by Deputy Governor Leslie Munger, Senator Karen McConnaughay, Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Director George Sheldon, NHTH Director for Polaris, Caroline Diemar and Carlos San Jose, President, CCOA-Chicago, with local and state law enforcement officials to speak with an audience of reporters and supporters to underscore the need for preventing and combatting human trafficking across the state of Illinois and the country.
Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 2822 which takes action in combatting human trafficking across Illinois. It established a human trafficking task force comprised of legislators, members of the Chicago Regional Human Trafficking Task Force and the Director of the Illinois State Police. It also helps protect victims who often have language barriers, emotional challenges or economic hardships by creating a Task Force to look at how the State of Illinois can partner with agencies across the state to counter these egregious offenses of human exploitation. The Task Force shall submit a report with its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly on or before June 30, 2017.
“Human trafficking is unacceptable,” said Governor Rauner. “That is why we must fight to bring it to an end here in Illinois. Our administration proudly signed legislation creating a Task Force to combat human trafficking, and we are working every day to protect victims. Together, we can put an end to human trafficking.”
“People exploited in forms of modern slavery are receiving help and services to rebuild their lives every day in America, including throughout Illinois. From the young man exploited in a peddling ring who can now be connected to a jobs program to the woman forced into a commercial-front brothel who has access to counseling and therapy support, survivors are reaching out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline more than ever,” said Caroline Diemar, Polaris’s National Hotlines Director. “Too often, though, survivors aren’t aware the National Hotline exists or that they can be connected to a network of support across the country. Illinois’s awareness campaign is critical to ensuring survivors of sex and labor trafficking get the help they need.”
“We are so proud to partner with Polaris and Governor Rauner to help the victims of human trafficking across the state of Illinois,” said Carlos San Jose, President, CCOA – Chicago. “Those who fall victim to human trafficking might think it’s too late or might not know there’s support available to help them rebuild their lives and we want to send a clear message to the Chicago community that it’s never too late to reach out for help. I am truly thankful to Governor Rauner for all the work he has done to raise awareness of this modern slavery and his ongoing support, along with Polaris’ continued efforts, are crucial to helping bring survivors to safety.”
Three years ago, Polaris and CCOA forged a national partnership to combat human trafficking with campaigns in cities across America. CCOA launched its first anti-human trafficking campaign alongside Polaris in Philadelphia in 2012, and has since supported campaigns with Polaris and/or local partners in Baltimore, Iowa, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and across the state of Texas. This is CCOA’s 21st anti-human trafficking campaign and data show that the campaigns drive calls to the hotline, including tips and requests by victims for help. And this latest billboard campaign will deliver over 16 million impressions over its four-week span in Chicago.
The NHTH is operated by Polaris, and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other private donors. The NHTH (1-888-373-7888) is a confidential, multilingual service that connects survivors of all forms of human trafficking to nationwide available services to get help and stay safe. It also provides the anti-trafficking community with actionable tips and insights. By offering a robust 24/7 infrastructure and sharing data and resources, the NHTH unites local efforts into a national movement that is helping survivors restore their freedom and eradicating human trafficking at scale.
About Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc., (NYSE: CCO) is one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies, with more than 650,000 displays in over 35 countries across five continents, including 43 of the 50 largest markets in the United States. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings offers many types of displays across its global platform to meet the advertising needs of its customers. This includes a growing digital platform that now offers over 1,100 digital billboards across 29 U.S. markets. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings’ International segment operates in 19 countries across Asia and Europe in a wide variety of formats.
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Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris acts as a catalyst to systemically disrupt the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. By working with government leaders, the world’s leading technology corporations, and local partners, Polaris equips communities to identify, report, and prevent human trafficking. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do – helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate. Learn more at www.polarisproject.org.
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