Friday, March 25, 2011

Victory! Jury Convicts Man of Human Trafficking in Cook County

Being a “pimp” isn’t cool anymore in Illinois. Instead, pimps are being recognized for what they really are—human traffickers.

This week a man was convicted by a jury in Cook County for human trafficking. This is the first time a jury has convicted a human trafficker in Cook County. According to the State’s Attorney’s Office:

Troy Bonaparte, 46, who went by the name, “Magnificent” targeted and recruited women to work as prostitutes for profit. Bonaparte would rent motel rooms at various locations in the city and surrounding suburbs, where women would service 5 to 25 customers per day. Bonaparte kept all of the money the women earned and threatened to beat or kill them if they didn’t comply with his demands to perform the sex acts.

He was caught in a hotel in Elk Grove Village (prostitution happens in the suburbs too!).

CAASE and our End Demand Illinois campaign send big congratulations to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative and the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Vice officers, who helped bring the case against this trafficker.

Bonaparte’s case shows that our law enforcement is changing the way they approach bringing down prostitution rings—they are recognizing that in many cases, women are forced into the sex trade and are controlled by traffickers like Bonaparte. Instead of simply arresting the women whose bodies were being sold, law enforcement looked deeper and took the time to bring a case against the trafficker.

Our End Demand Illinois campaign is working to raise awareness about cases like this one—we partner with law enforcement and social service agencies to bring traffickers to justice and to improve services for survivors of prostitution. To learn more, visit

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Lawrence Taylor Bought a Child

Yes, Lawrence Taylor, you are the cause of prostitution. Taylor has become the latest spokesperson for our societal ignorance around the issues of prostitution and sex trafficking. And he’s living proof that the way to end exploitation is to make sure more johns get “busted.”

In case you haven’t heard, Taylor is an NFL player who was sentenced to probation this week for purchasing sex from a 16-year-old girl. While listening to him defend his actions, and witnessing the lack of accountability and punishment for the harm he caused this young woman, all I could think was: Who do we want to protect?

Let’s hear from Taylor about how he bought a child:

"It's the world of prostitution," he said during the Fox News interview. "You never know what you're gonna get. Is it gonna be a pretty girl, an ugly girl or whatever it's gonna be”. When asked about purchasing a 16-year-old, he responded: "I don't card them. I don't ask for a birth certificate."

This young woman was a victim of trafficking. There is no such thing as “child prostitution” because children cannot legally consent to have sex with adults. This victim was also beaten and forced into the trade—other elements of human trafficking. At the most fundamental level, Taylor raped a child. So how can we protect other children and adults from being exploited in the sex trade? Jezebel identifies the crux of the problem quite nicely, and then proposes a solution that will never, ever work:

“Nearly everyone agrees that ending trafficking, both of children and adults, is a moral imperative. How can we do this? One start would be to draw a clear line between trafficking and voluntary prostitution, and to severely punish those who have sex with trafficking victims.”

The clear and concrete line between “voluntary” prostitution and trafficking is imaginary:

  • Many people we call “prostitutes” are victims of violence and control under a pimp. That means they are being trafficked.
  • Many prostituted people are raped, beaten and forced to sell their bodies to more than 10 people each day. That means they are being trafficked.
  • Many of these same people were recruited into the sex trade when they were 12, 14, 15 years old, which meant that they were trafficked.

Do we really think that people like Lawrence Taylor, the people who buy sex, care about victims of trafficking? The only way to protect vulnerable people from being exploited in the sex trade is to end the demand for paid sex. Stop the arrest and re-arrest of prostituted people, and start “busting” people like Taylor who are buying sex and fueling the trade.

Taylor says it himself, describing how infrequently johns are punished: "You never think you're gonna get busted because everyone does it until you get busted, and then it's more embarrassing than anything else."

He shouldn’t be embarrassed. He should be in jail.

CAASE believes that we can end the sale of people’s bodies for sex, by ending the demand for prostitution. Don’t buy sex, and don’t tolerate it when other people buy sex. To learn more about these issues, check out our Myths and Misconceptions fact sheets here.

To join our campaign to end the demand for paid sex, visit