• About me

    Hi! I’m Claudine O’Leary. I was born and raised in Chicago. I love Milwaukee, Wisconsin and decided to make it my home. I’ve been involved in organizing work around youth…

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  • Represent

    The mission of Represent is to build skills and knowledge with teens who have real life experiences with the sex trades, street economies and the streets on their rights, options,…

Media mentions

  • “Pimps thrive off of the situations that already exist. They didn’t create the 50 percent unemployment rate. They just took advantage of it. They didn’t create the situation where the youth are sexually abused before they turn 10, 11, 12. They just take advantage of it. They don’t create the situation where youth are pushed out of school. They just take advantage of it,” Ms. O’Leary argued.

    What youth really need and want are 24-hour drop in centers, otherwise, the cycle will continue, she warned.

    Beaten, abused, forced into sex slavery; How and why Black girls are increasingly trapped in prostitution, Charlene Muhammad, Oct 29, 2013

    - The Final Call
  • “I’m happy that we’re also discussing options outside of youth prisons, whether that be secure residential facilities or improved programs in our community, I want there to be more options,” said Claudine O’Leary, who leads a group of girls in juvenile detention every Friday night and knows most of the young women placed at Copper Lake.

    Juvenile justice advocates garner community input in effort to improve outcomes for youth offenders, Allison Dikanovic, September 25, 2018

    - Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
  • Claudine O’Leary, former director of Chicago’s Young Women’s Empowerment Project and now a youth advocate in Milwaukee, notes that Wisconsin law still allows a minor to be charged with prostitution.

    “There’s no barrier to charging a minor with sex trafficking-type of offenses,” O’Leary told Truthout. Youth can be charged with human trafficking and trafficking of a child if they are with a younger person. However, O’Leary noted, those charges are rare. Instead, allegations of trafficking are raised in juvenile court, which may influence a judge to consider the youth a risk to themselves or others, and place them in secure detention or a residential treatment center. But given the confidential nature of juvenile courts, how often this happens is unknown.

    How $40 Can Land You in Prison for Seven Years and on the Sex Offender Registry for Life, Victoria Law, October 8, 2017

    - Truthout
  • Young people often find themselves stigmatized when they speak up about having been manipulated for sex, Claudine O’Leary, a youth advocate who has worked with young people involved with the sex trade for more than two decades, said. Parents can stop speaking to them, among other consequences.

    “People start getting much more restrictive,” she said. “So any kind of freedom that you had is gone at that point. And then they start even bringing things up. So let’s say a friend of yours does buy you that or lends you a jacket, and you show up with that jacket, and people are like ‘where did you get that jacket?’ And so for ever more, a week later, a month later, a year later, people are bringing it up and saying like ‘I know you’re doing it again.’”…

    Hub of human trafficking: underground sex trade thrives in Milwaukee, Zoe Sullivan, November 2, 2015

    - The Guardian