2013 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
The Milwaukee Division honors Claudine O’Leary, a survivor of human trafficking and founder of Rethink Resources, a Milwaukee-based resource for victims of human trafficking.
Twenty years after being trafficked at a young age, Ms. O’Leary is passionate about Rethink Resources’ focus on issues affecting youth and adults involved in human trafficking, including outreach, advocacy, and group education, as well as issues of sexual violence—from sexual abuse and assault to sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. After starting a support group in Chicago that turned into the Young Women’s Empowerment Project, Ms. O’Leary moved to Milwaukee, where she has been working to educate youth about the sex trade and other difficult topics like dating and sexual violence.
In 2013, Ms. O’Leary co-authored and co-researched two reports for the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission on sex and human trafficking. She was also appointed to the City of Milwaukee Health Department to coordinate a citywide planning process to improve resource systems and community response to sexual violence. As an independent consultant regarding human trafficking issues, Ms. O’Leary works with multiple non-profit social service organizations throughout the Midwest to enhance understanding of the issues and how to effectively and respectfully respond to victims and their families.