Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) has proposed an ordinance to ban people convicted of prostitution from walking in public parks and other zones. The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) believes this approach ignores the root problem—people who buy sex—and could target victims of sex trafficking.
Only 1/3 of prostitution-related arrests in Chicago are of men, and yet the people who buy sex fuel the sex trade. “Arresting and re-arresting prostituted people has proven highly ineffective in combating the sex trade,” said Lynne Johnson, advocacy director for the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. “Research shows the best way to curb the sex trade in a community is to deter men from buying sex,” Johnson said. This ordinance could also affect survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution who have left the trade and are struggling to move on with their lives.
CAASE is the lead agency for End Demand Illinois, the first campaign in the country that strives to change state laws to hold traffickers and perpetrators accountable and to provide supportive services to people impacted by the sex trade.
“Prostitution is not a victimless crime—women in prostitution face incredibly high rates of rape and violence,” said Johnson. It’s estimated that on any day in Chicago, more than 16,000 women and girls are involved in prostitution-related activities. Some women in prostitution report having to service 10 or more men in a single day, which indicates a significant demand for paid sex in our community. To learn more about the campaign, visit www.enddemandillinois.org
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