National Sex Trafficking Sting Nets Over 1,000 Sex Buyers and Pimps/Traffickers

Aug 2, 2017Press Release

Sheriff to Seek Creation of Searchable Database and Increased Fines for Repeat Sex Buyers

In an effort to target and reduce sex trafficking, a national coalition of law enforcement agencies conducted coordinated sting operations that led to more than 1,000 arrests, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

The National Johns Suppression Initiative (NJSI) ran its 14th operation from June 28 – July 31 and included 37 law enforcement agencies across 17 states. In total, at least 1,020 sex buyers were arrested, 15 individuals face trafficking-related charges and 81 individuals were recovered and offered services. Law enforcement agencies in Cook County recorded 141 sex buyer arrests.

Sheriff Dart started the NJSI operations in 2011 to bring attention to the exploitive nature of the sex trafficking industry and reduce the demand for purchased sex that serves to perpetuate a cycle of violence, mental illness and drug addiction for victims.

To help further that cause in Cook County, Sheriff Dart also announced today that his office will ask the county board to pass an ordinance that would mandate the creation of a publically searchable database that would list the names of sex buyers who are caught for a second or subsequent time. In addition, the ordinance would double the fines for those individuals to $2,000, up from the $1,000 mandated under the current ordinance. The repeat sex buyers’ names would be eligible for removal from the database after two years, if there are no intervening arrests.

According to Demand Abolition, increased fines are a major deterrent to buying sex. Since NJSI operations began, Cook County Sheriff’s Police and participating agencies from across the country have arrested more than 7,637 sex buyers. Cumulative numbers from the 14th NJSI operation are as follows:

  • 1,020 sex solicitation arrests (sex buyers)
  • 15 sex trafficking arrests
  • $1,508,550 in minimum possible fines
  • 75 adult victims recovered
  • 6 juveniles recovered

Noteworthy anecdotes from the operation include:

  • Cook County Sheriff’s Police worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to shut down three brothels which resulted in three individuals charged with operating the brothels and four charged felony patronizing the brothels – a first in Cook County.
  • Six adult victims were also recovered and offered services.
  • The Seattle Police Department arrested a convicted child molester and a man who brought a firearm, a knife and handcuffs to the location. The department also is investigating an uncovered pattern of violent rapes by two suspects whose victims are prostitutes.
  • The Phoenix Police Department rescued a 16-year-old girl and charged the customer with child prostitution.
  • The Department of Justice in Wisconsin approved multiple charges for “Use of Computer to Facilitate Child Sex Crime, Child Enticement, and Expose child to Harmful Descriptions”
  • The Harris County Sheriff’s Office arrested a local pastor, a state trooper and a convicted sex offender as part of its sting.

Agencies who participated in the 14th NJSI* include:

  • Alabama
    • Tuscaloosa Police Department – 33 sex buyers arrested
  • Arizona
    • Phoenix Police Department, Glendale Police Department, Peoria Police Department – 454 sex buyers deterred (includes texts, calls and webpage re-directs to inform sex buyers of the illegal sex industry’s harmful impact)
    • Scottsdale Police Department – 5 sex buyers arrested, 1 juvenile victim recovered, 2 adult victims recovered
  • Arkansas
    • Little Rock Police Department – 12 sex buyers arrested
  • California
    • Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department – 32 sex buyers arrested
    • Oakland Police Department – 26 sex buyers arrested, 3 pimps/sex traffickers arrested, 2 juvenile victims recovered
  • Florida
    • Clear Water Police Department – 5 sex buyers arrested, 1 adult victim recovered
  • Illinois
    • Cook County Sheriff’s Office – 137 sex buyers arrested, 3 pimps/sex traffickers arrested, 6 adult victims recovered; This includes joint operations with the Broadview Police Department (12 sex buyers arrested), Lansing Police Department (15 sex buyers arrested), Matteson Police Department (18 sex buyers arrested) and Rosemont Police Department (8 sex buyers arrested)
    • Arlington Heights Police Department – 5 sex buyers arrested
    • Lake County Sheriff’s Office – 19 sex buyers arrested
  • Maryland
    • Prince Georges County Police Department – 58 sex buyers arrested
    • Maryland Transportation Authority Police & Maryland Human- Trafficking Taskforce – 4 adult victims recovered
    • Maryland Transportation Authority Police Department – 10 adult victims recovered
    • Howard County Police Department – 1 pimp/sex trafficker arrested, 3 adult victims recovered, 1 juvenile victim recovered
  • Massachusetts
    • Boston Police Department – 29 sex buyers arrested, 1 pimp/sex trafficker arrested
    • Burlington Police Department – 2 sex buyers arrested
  • Nebraska
    • Lincoln Police Department – 4 adult victims recovered
  • New York
    • New York Police Department – 45 sex buyers arrested
  • Nevada
    • Las Vegas Police Department – 3 sex buyers arrested
    • Reno Police Department – 12 sex buyers arrested
  • Ohio
    • Cincinnati Police Department – 11 sex buyers arrested
    • Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Taskforce – 18 sex buyers arrested
  • Oregon
    • Portland Police Department – 32 sex buyers arrested, 5 pimps/sex traffickers arrested, 2 juvenile victims recovered
  • Pennsylvania
    • Pittsburgh Police Department – 13 adult victims recovered
    • Montgomery Township Police Department – 2 sex buyers arrested
  • Texas
    • Harris County Sheriff’s Office – 170 sex buyers arrested
    • Houston Police Department – 88 sex buyers arrested, 1 pimp/sex trafficker arrested, 9 adult victims recovered
    • McLennan County Sheriff’s Office – 72 sex buyers arrested
  • Washington
    • Seattle Police Department – 160 sex buyers arrested, 23 adult victims recovered
  • Wisconsin
    • Brown County Sheriff’s Office – 35 sex buyers arrested
    • Wisconsin Department of Justice – 10 sex buyers arrested

*Special thank you to Demand Abolition for their continued support of this national initiative.

*Number subject to change based on additional law enforcement agencies reporting