Friday, July 29, 2011

Looking beneath the surface only takes a minute.

We’ve all seen the mug shots lining the margins of online news sites. Women are charged with prostitution. Sometimes they are in the city, but more often than not, they’re in the suburbs. Not on the street, but busted in a sting in a massage parlor or spa. And our gut reaction at CAASE is to wonder “Did anyone look beneath the surface? Did anyone ask that woman if she was there by choice?”

When you see these stories, do a short screening for yourself. Does the reporter ask the police about the potential of trafficking in the case? Were the sting efforts targeting purchasers (johns) and traffickers (pimps) or only the prostituted women? Is there a plan for holding the business accountable, or figuring out who was really profiting? Or might the arrested women soon be replaced with others? Why are there only photos of prostituted women, but no photos of the johns? Were there efforts to arrest johns?

If not, they’re ignoring demand—the people who perpetrate harm and profit from the sex trade.

If you don’t see reporters and law enforcement looking beneath the surface to address demand, it’s up to you to call them out. Leave a comment. Write a letter. Ask your local law enforcement and elected officials to address demand for the sex trade. Join our campaign and tell Illinois that we must end demand. Visit

Sample letters and other information can also be found in our media response guide.