We wanted to share some signs of progress in the fight against sex trafficking in Illinois.
First of all, law enforcement is holding more pimps and traffickers accountable and offering services to survivors of the sex trade. Recently, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Chicago man, Henry McLaurin, who was then charged with one count of promoting prostitution and one count of domestic battery. McLaurin had been placing ads for women he prostituted on Backpage.com, where he would arrange "dates" with johns and then pocket the profits from the women he prostituted. The women who law enforcement encountered in this case were not arrested but instead offered supportive services, which recognized that they were in need of help.
We are pleased that Chicago law enforcement has increased awareness and dedication to learning how to identify and help trafficked individuals.
Also in the news recently, the Chicago Police Department hosted a training on prostitution and forced labor at its headquarter, highlighting terms to understand, why demand continually fuels the sex trade, and ways to identify victims of human trafficking. Read more about that training there.
While it may seem discouraging that Chicago is a central hub for trafficking, you can help to change that.
Continue to encourage law enforcement to focus on the perpetrators of the sex trade -- to arrest and prosecute the pimps and johns whose livelihood is the sexual exploitation and violation of women. Support rehabilitation organizations that provide survivors of prostitution with much needed services. To learn more about how you can help, visit End Demand, Illinois.