© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Head Of Rockford's New Office To Address Human Trafficking Calls For Cultural Shift

Sue Stephens

Jennifer Cacciapaglia is just days into her role as manager of the Mayor’s Office to combat domestic violence and human trafficking in Rockford, but she says her wheels are turning to develop new strategies to tackle the issue.

Cacciapaglia says it starts with a cultural shift.

“We have to stop asking, ‘Why is that woman staying with this pimp?' or ‘Why is she allowing herself to be sold for sex?’ And we have to start asking, ‘Why do so many of our men grow up until adults who believe it’s an acceptable thing to buy a human being for sex?’”

She's tasked to coordinate law enforcement, non-profit, and other civic service groups to tackle the problem. Cacciapaglia says her new job comes at a time when Rockford is second only to Chicago in its number of domestic violence cases.

She says she plans to take a more organized and holistic approach to address the epidemic.

Jennifer Cacciapaglia

“In spite of our best efforts, we haven’t been able to curb it," Cacciapaglia says, "and so, we have to really think of some different ways to try and get our arms around it.”

She says one plan is to press schools to teach teens about dating violence at an earlier age.

Cacciapaglia is also Co-Founder of the Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (RAASE). She previously served as Assistant State's Attorney and City Attorney.

Related Stories