We’ve noticed a few articles in the past week about prostitution stings happening in the Chicago suburbs. There are a few things that the staff here at CAASE looks for when we see these types of articles. Are johns, pimps and sex traffickers being held accountable? Were children involved? How does the reporter portray the people being prostituted? Here are some initial thoughts and a few stats from our study Deconstructing the Demand for Prostitution. What are your reactions to these stories?
Sept. 10, 2010: Daily Herald | Nine arrested in Aurora prostitution sting: We think it’s very important and a victory that local law enforcement in Aurora are going after the men who are trying to buy sex acts. The sex trade is a crime that is happening locally, here in Chicagoland, and it is harmful to our communities and to women: 27% of the men CAASE interviewed acknowledged that they had committed sexually coercive acts against women.
Sept. 25, 2010: 4 arrested in prostitution investigation near Willowbrook: This story reveals that people are being trafficked into our area for prostitution. The woman arrested is “from” Seattle—we wonder who brought her to Chicago and if that person is being punished. Of the men CAASE interviewed, 20% said they had purchased sex from women who were trafficked from other countries.
Sept. 27, 2010: Police nab eight in prostitution sting: (Elmhurst) This story lists the names and addresses of the men who were arrested for attempting to buy sex. In our study, 87% of men said that having their photo or name in the local paper would deter them from buying sex.
Notice another buried aspect of the Elmhurst story: The final paragraph reveals that one of the women who was arrested for prostitution was only 17 years old, and therefore released. This is because of a new law, the Illinois Safe Children Act, which will end the practice of prosecuting young people who have been prostituted, and instead offer them a safe place to stay and services. This law was an initiative of our End Demand campaign, and we’re extremely proud to see that it’s working!
To learn more about how you can help with the End Demand Illinois campaign, please visit www.enddemandillinois.org.