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Home > Press Page

Monday, February 2, 2015A national coalition of local law enforcement agencies conducted a sting operation that led to the arrests of 570 would-be sex buyers (or “johns”) and 23 pimps or traffickers, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

The ninth “National Day of Johns Arrests” ran for approximately two weeks, from January 15 through February 1. The sting brought together 37 law enforcement agencies throughout 17 states in a widespread crackdown on the demand for purchased sex.

The operation also targeted pimps and traffickers who have forced victims into lives of prostitution. 23 men were taken into custody on charges of pimping, trafficking or promoting prostitution.

Sheriff Dart conceived these sweeps in 2011 to highlight the role of sex solicitors as perpetrators to this violent and exploitative industry. Since then, the Cook County Sheriff-led national coalition of nearly 70 jurisdictions has grown rapidly, with this sting emerging as the largest and most successful operation yet. The campaign has evolved to highlight the role of classified ad site as a conduit for the sex trade – 64% of the johns ended up in handcuffs after answering what they thought were online ads for prostitution on Backpage. Additionally, 7% of the johns responded to fake ads on Craigslist.

Charges stemming from this effort include adult and juvenile felony sex trafficking, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, pimping and rape. In addition to sex-related arrests, the sweeps yielded charges of kidnapping, drug trafficking and possession of illegal firearms.

The results of the latest National Day of Johns Arrests sting reflect growing momentum for this national campaign. Across nine operations over a four-year stretch, the collaborative effort has led to the arrests of more than 2,900 total johns.

“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,” said Sheriff Dart. “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.”

Cumulative numbers from the ninth “National Day of Johns Arrests” campaign are as follows:

Noteworthy anecdotes from the sweep include:

Agencies who participated in this sting include:


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