Vision

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.

Mission

To educate and engage the community to prevent commercial sexual exploitation and to provide comprehensive, restorative care to survivors.

Goals

The Stepping Stones Network offers individuals and organizations a variety of ways to get involved in fighting modern-day slavery and serving the people who are affected by it.  We have three focus areas to address the issue.

  • Community Engagement – To activate the community and the church by raising awareness of the reality of sexual exploitation/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) Respectfully and compassionately 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) Preventing at-risk youth from being exploited.
  • Restorative Services – To offer help to people who have been harmed by sexual exploitation or violations by 1) Providing a holistic, structured residential recovery program for trafficked mothers and their children; 2) Offering workshops and groups for non-violent users of pornography and prostitution; 3) Offering co-ed healing groups for any adult who has suffered trauma or sexual violations; and 4) Working in collaboration with other community organizations and agencies to provide care, support or placement for victims.

Location

Our operations and most face-to-face programming are based in Lake County, IL; however, we serve Chicagoland and surrounding areas. We collaborate and partner with a variety of organizations in Chicagoland and have reciprocal relationships with other residential organizations in the US. Our long-term recovery program clients may be referred from anywhere in the US. Our groups and educational opportunities are often provided online, so participants may be from any location.

History

Stepping Stones was formed in 2011 when a group of concerned individuals came together to discuss what could be done to address the growing problem of commercial sexual exploitation in the Chicago area.  As they investigated, they became aware of two disturbing facts: the prevalence of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs and the lack of trauma recovery services, housing, and employment alternatives for those who have been victimized by this modern-day form of slavery.

In 2014, they merged with Oasis Productions, and Stepping Stones Network was created. Stepping Stones Network is now a program of Oasis Productions, a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization. Donations are tax-deductible.

We were formally mentoring through the Wellspring Institute (Atlanta, GA) and surveyed by the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. We received the full 3-year accreditation.