Illinois agency, volunteers join to fight human trafficking

Illinois' child welfare agency is joining with other groups to fight human trafficking in Chicago and across the state.

The Department of Children and Family Services said advocates and volunteers on Saturday night will distribute toiletries along with information about human trafficking referral services, shelter care programs and substance abuse services. The groups will visit various stops along the Chicago Transit Authority's red line.

DCFS investigated 255 allegations of human trafficking during the last fiscal year, with 119 of the cases in Cook County. Experts believe the actual number of incidents is much higher because victims often don't seek help, either because of fear or distrust of law enforcement.

“It’s important for everyone to understand that human trafficking is not something that only happens in other countries," said Marc Smith, acting director of DCFS. "It is alarming that children are trafficked in big cities and small towns across the United States and in Illinois every day.”