26 local women rescued from sex trade as part of national Super Bowl sting

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The Cook County sheriff’s office rescued 26 women from prostitution and arrested one male customer while taking part in an annual national law enforcement Super Bowl crackdown on sex trafficking.

In Cook County, 26 women were rescued from the sex trade, and one john was arrested between Jan. 17 and Feb. 7, according to a statement from the Cook County sheriff’s office. The Lake County sheriff’s office also arrested and charged one man with three counts of having sex with minors.

In total, 23 law enforcement agencies across 14 states took part in the initiative, which rescued a total of three juveniles and 73 adults, and arrested 30 pimps and 522 johns, the sheriff’s office said. The sex buyers were fined a total of at least $187,000.

“Sex trafficking continues to destroy countless lives, and this broad national movement should send a strong message to prospective johns that their ‘hobby’ is much more than a ‘victimless’ crime,” Sheriff Tom Dart said in the statement. “It’s particularly meaningful that this sting culminated on the day of the Super Bowl, which unfortunately has emerged as a prominent haven for sex trafficking.”

Sheriff Dart formed the National Johns Suppression Initiative four years ago, which has led to the arrests of more than 4,400 johns nationwide, the sheriff’s office said.

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