Monday, August 1, 2011

Sun-Times Tells the Story of Cynthia Barnes

Cynthia Barnes, a prostituted woman who died violently at the hands of a john, is the subject of a series of columns from Mark Brown at the Chicago Sun-Times. All too often, the stories of prostituted people are ignored in the media. We are heartened that Brown is delving into the complexities of this subject.

Barnes's death is deeply disturbing. According to her boyfriend, Barnes wanted to exit the sex trade but faced few options. She was homeless, didn’t have anywhere else to go, and grappled with addiction. On a rainy night, she went on a “date” with a john to get out of the rain. The john apparently pushed her from a third-story window, and she fell to her death.

Prostitution is not a victimless crime. Women and children in Chicago suffer tremendous violence at the hands of pimps, johns and traffickers. Many women in the trade say that they would like to leave, but they fear violence from a pimp or simply don’t know where to turn. Read our "Myths about women in prostitution" fact sheet to learn more.

Our End Demand Illinois campaign seeks to refocus law enforcement’s attention toward those who profit from the sex trade (johns, pimps and traffickers).  We envision a community that offers a network of support for people who want to leave the sex trade. To learn more about the campaign, visit


  1. Do you have the name of the person who pushed Cynthia out of the window? I read stories that state he jumped out of the window after her and he was held in the hospital, it doesn't state a name. Cynthia was a friend of mine and I want to make sure justice is served on her behalf.

  2. Hi Andrea,

    No, we do not have any more details about this case. I only know what the reporter shared. So sorry for your loss.