State's Attorney's Office Unveils Task Force to Fight Human Trafficking

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Lake County State's Attorneys Office


Feb. 9, 2022


For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Newton
(224) 374-2376


Help on the Way: New Lake County Human Trafficking Task Force Seeks to Free Victims


Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart speaks at a press conference Wednesday on the grant-funded creation of a new Lake County Human Trafficking Task Force.

(Lake County, IL) - Today, county and federal officials announced the formation of a new task force directed at curbing sex and labor trafficking in Lake County.

The Lake County Human Trafficking Task Force will be directed by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and will consist of a collaboration between prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, and victim service providers. The task force will be funded by a Department of Justice (DOJ) Grant to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and victim-service organization, A Safe Place.  

To explain the new task force at a press conference, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart was joined by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, John Lausch, A Safe Place CEO, Pat Davenport, Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg, North Chicago Police Chief Laz Perez, Douglas Goodwater, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office for the FBI, Richard Fitzgerald, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office for Homeland Security Investigations. 

“Traffickers who would threaten, exploit, and abuse others for their own profit will be caught and brought to justice because of this task force,” State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said. 

Lake County is the first county in Illinois, outside of Cook, to secure this extremely competitive grant from the Office for Victims of Crime (a division of the DOJ), which will provide $750,000 over 3 years to the State’s Attorney’s Office, and $750,000 to A Safe PlaceThe Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office and A Safe Place were one of only six applicants that received the OVC FY 2021 Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking grant. 

A Safe Place is the only organization in Lake County that provides services exclusively for domestic violence and human trafficking. A Safe Place will utilize their grant funds to enhance victim support by hiring three victim support professionals.


Left to right, United States Attorney John Lausch, Pat Davenport, Damaris Lorta, Dr. Margarita Garcia, and Assistant State's Attorney Kyle Doyle at Wednesday following a press event regarding the new the Lake County Human Trafficking Task Force.

A Safe Place CEO Pat Davenport spoke about how the formation of the task force was a “dream come true.” Davenport stated that the $1.5 million investment in Lake County will allow us to have an infrastructure to support victims while also coordinating with various law enforcement agencies. Davenport also emphasized the need to fight labor trafficking in all parts of Lake and in all economic sectors.

The State’s Attorney’s Office has named Assistant State’s Attorney Kyle Dole as the lead task force prosecutor and is in the process of interviewing for a critical investigator position. Several ASAs and an additional investigator will bolster the work of the of the Task Force in, part-time, support capacities.

The Task Force will also provide funding for a coordinator, who will double as a victim-support/outreach specialist and work jointly with the State’s Attorney’s Office and A Safe Place to educate the police and the public about the signs of trafficking.

According to officials, the six new grant positions will expand and deepen victim support, enhance trafficking prosecutions at all levels, and vastly increase public awareness.

The effort to secure this grant was reinforced with letters of support from; Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Congressman Brad Schneider, State Senator Melinda Bush, and Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg.

“Survivors of human trafficking need our support as they rebuild their lives, and perpetrators of human trafficking should be punished to the full extent of the law. I am proud to have supported this effort to crack down on human trafficking and I am grateful that the U.S. Department of Justice has made this investment in Lake County’s safety by funding the Human Trafficking Task Force. I look forward to continuing to work with the State’s Attorney’s Office to support human trafficking survivors,” Congressman Brad Schneider said.

The grant was formally incorporated into Lake County’s budget structure through a County Board resolution that was unanimously adopted by the County Board on February 8.

“These federal dollars that our team earned will make Lake County safer now, and years into the future,” State’s Attorney Rinehart said.

Anyone concerned about a potential human trafficking situation can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, or text "BeFree (233733).


Lake County State's Attorney's Office
18 N. County Street
Waukegan, IL 60085  
Phone: (847) 377-3000