Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE)

CAASE addresses the culture, institutions, and individuals that perpetrate, profit from, or support sexual exploitation. Our work includes prevention, policy reform, community engagement, and legal services.
Sep 24, 2014

The Power of Partnership

September, 2014

Although high school hallways are quiet during the summer, the prevention team at the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation has stayed busy.  In addition to planning and scheduling with our school partners, the team has greatly expanded the reach of the program.  This expansion is made possible by training additional facilitators both in Chicago and around the country. 

            In order to increase the number of young men being educated without altering the amount of time in a day, we realized that we needed to increase the number of educators.  The problem was we didn’t have the budget to hire more staff, and even if we did hire more staff we wouldn’t be reaching beyond the Chicago city limits.  Fortunately, an organization that already had a team of educators approached us looking for a curriculum to present to young men in their teens.  We worked out a partnership to train their educators to facilitate Empowering Young Men all across their state.  Later, an organization from yet another reached out, as did an organization from Chicago.  By the end of the summer, we had trained three groups of educators, from four different states, and have two more similar trainings lined up for the fall.

            This rapid, and unexpected, expansion will mean at least 60 new EYM facilitators empowering young men in five different states to end sexual exploitation.  CAASE empowers roughly 700 young men every year.  If you multiply that by the power of partnership, the number grows exponentially.  

Jun 19, 2014

A Success Story

I was asked to come into a high school in Chicago to work with their 9th grade boys.  The school indicated that they were troubled by the behavior exhibited in the halls by some of the boys toward some of the girls, and thought the boys would benefit from going through our program, Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation.  At the start of the first day, I asked the boys to write down words they would use to describe “a prostitute.”  The majority of the responses were words like, “slut,” “hoe,” “THOT” (That Hoe Out There), “easy,” “nasty,” “dirty,” and “worthless.”  Many of these words were the same words that the administration reported hearing directed at the girls in the school.  At the end of the 4-session program, I asked the same question.  This time, however, the responses were words like, “abused,” “raped,” “alone,” “desperate,” “depressed,” and “victim.”

As these young men went through our 4-session program, they had an opportunity to examine the constructs of masculinity and think critically about how they influence their own decision making.  They also had a chance to consider how their behavior, and the behavior of their peers, can impact their community.  One student wrote, “I’ve learned that men treat women like crap, they use them as an object…  I know that this puts girls in danger of becoming a prostitute.”  He and his classmates began to see that objectifying women and degrading them with words like “slut” can have serious consequences.  When asked how girls end up in prostitution, many responded with “they had a traumatized life,” “they had a rough childhood,” or “[society says] they have less power.”

Now, not every girl who is objectified and degraded will end up being commercially sexually exploited, and these young men acknowledged that.  But as one student said, “we [never] know her story.”  At the end of the final session, I asked the young men if there was anything that they would do differently now, based on what they had learned during the program.  The two most common responses were “I will stop saying words like ‘thot’” and “I am going to respect women more.” 

School is out for the summer now, but let’s hope they keep their promises.

Mar 20, 2014

March Update

Caleb Probst training other facilitators
Caleb Probst training other facilitators

Progress Report on the Implementation of

CAASE’s Prevention Curriculum:

Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation


March, 2014


As the snow and ice begin to melt, the CAASE prevention education efforts are really heating up.

So far in 2014, the prevention educators have:

  • Facilitated Empowering Young Men to End Sexual Exploitation with 131 young men between the ages of 14 and 18, in three different high schools;
  • Facilitated Empowering Young Women to End Sexual Exploitation with 89 young women between the ages of 14 and 18, in two different high schools;
  • Trained 15 educators on how to facilitate the Empowering Youth program.

 Going forward through the spring and summer, the prevention team will: 

  • Continue facilitating Empowering Young Men and Empowering Young Women;
  • Participate as a guest panelist at the Illinois Capital Forum; and
  • Translate all prevention education materials into Spanish.

Thank you for your support of our efforts.  This program is continuing to each day, and is now receiving national attention for the innovative way in which it engages young people—especially young men—in a conversation about ending sexual violence and exploitation.  Please continue to support CAASE’s prevention team as we continue to empower the young men and women of Chicago to make a difference.


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