The formation of Stepping Stones goes back to April 2011 when a group of concerned individuals in the northern suburbs of Chicago came together to discuss what could be done to address the growing problem of commercial sexual exploitation in the Chicago area. As we investigated, we became increasingly aware of two disturbing facts. One is the prevalence of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. The other is the lack of trauma recovery services, housing and employment alternatives for those who have been victimized by this modern day form of slavery. Stepping Stones Ministries of Chicago was formed to address this service gap. In 2014, we clarified our mission, vision and goals, merged with Oasis Productions, and became Stepping Stones Network. Our initial focus will be on Lake County and adjacent areas (north and northwest suburban Chicagoland). We will collaborate and partner with a variety of organizations in Lake County and the Chicagoland area and have reciprocal relationships with other residential organizations in the US. Residential program clients may be from anywhere in the United States.
An engaged and compassionate community where sexual exploitation is not tolerated, human rights and dignity are valued, and the lives of both victims and perpetrators are being restored through God-centered relationships.
To educate and engage the community to prevent domestic commercial sexual exploitation and to provide comprehensive, restorative care to survivors.
Our focus on community engagement led us to create the Stepping Stones Network which will offer individuals and organizations a variety of ways to get involved in fighting modern day slavery and loving the people who are affected by it. We have three main teams that focus directly on the issue.
- Community Engagement - To activate the community and the church by raising awareness of the reality of sex trafficking and offering specific ways to get involved.
- Prevention & Protection - To end demand for commercial sexual exploitation and protect our youth and adults from becoming victims through: 1) Confronting attitudes about the misuse of sex and the cost of being part of the demand; 2) Educating the public on the tactics used to lure victims and users; 3) Advocating for enforcement of laws related to sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation; and 4) Finding ways to prevent high risk teens from falling into exploitation.
- Restorative Services – To provide outreach to people in our county involved in commercial sexual exploitation by: 1) Working in collaboration with other community organizations and agencies; 2) Providing comprehensive services and life restoration through a residential program specializing in serving adult female survivors (18+) who are mothers and their children; and, 3) Offering programs for non-violent users of prostitution (“johns”) and pornography.
Stepping Stones Network is a program of Oasis Productions, a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization. Donations are tax deductible.