1,020 charged in national sex trafficking sting; 141 in Cook County

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More than 1,000 people were arrested—including 141 people in Cook County—in a national sex trafficking sting that started in June, authorities announced Wednesday.

The National Johns Suppression Initiative ran its 14th operation from June 28-July 31, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office. The operation involved 37 law enforcement agencies from 17 states and resulted in the arrest of at least 1,020 sex buyers.

Of those arrested, 15 are facing trafficking-related charges, the sheriff’s office said.

In Cook County, 141 people were arrested, including three pimps, the sheriff’s office said. Twelve sex buyers were arrested in Broadview, 15 in Lansing; 18 in Matteson, eight in Rosemont, and five in Arlington Heights.

Additionally, 19 sex buyers were arrested in Lake County, the sheriff’s office said.

Three brothels were shut down in Cook County by the sheriff’s office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the sheriff’s office said. Three people were charged with operating brothels and four others were charged with patronizing them. Six adult victims were offered help.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said in a statement that his office would ask the Cook County Board to pass an ordinance creating a publicly searchable database listing the names of sex buyers caught multiple times.

The ordinance would also double fines for those offenders to $2,000, Dart said. Their names would be eligible for removal from the database after two years, as long as there are no additional arrests.

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