Local Anti-Violence Advocate Claudine O’Leary to be Honored by FBI Director
|FBI Milwaukee March 11, 2014|
On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, Robert J. Shields, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Milwaukee Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced his selection of Claudine O’Leary, founder of Milwaukee-based Rethink Resources—an organization dedicated to outreach, victim advocacy, and education regarding human trafficking and sex trafficking—as the 2013 recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA). Ms. O’Leary will join other community leaders from around the United States in a special ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Friday, April 4, 2014.
The DCLA is presented annually to an individual or organization that has furthered the efforts of law enforcement. Ms. O’Leary will join other honorees nominated by special agents in charge of FBI field offices across the nation.
Ms. O’Leary has a wealth of knowledge and more than 20 years of experience in organizing youth outreach and human trafficking education efforts. She started a group in Chicago that became the Young Women’s Empowerment Project and led as the organization’s director until she moved to Milwaukee more than six years ago. Since that time, she has become a key figure in Milwaukee in the fight against human trafficking. She has assisted numerous local agencies—both public and private sector—who work with youth and has educated hundreds of youth and adults about sex trafficking and other difficult topics such as dating and sexual violence.
Ms. O’Leary also held an appointment within the City of Milwaukee Health Department’s Office of Violence Prevention coordinating a citywide planning process to improve resource systems and community response to sexual violence. Now, as an independent consultant, she works with many local programs in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest to build their capacity and understand how to effectively and respectfully respond to people dealing with human trafficking and those who have survived sexual violence. Ms. O’Leary earned a Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern Illinois University in critical pedagogy, which is the art or science of teaching.