Monday, April 30, 2012

Prostitution Sting in Naperville Ignores Johns

Four women and two men were arrested in a prostitution sting last week in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. While it is encouraging to see that law enforcement apparently arrested pimps, there was no mention of arrests of people who buy sex, often referred to as johns, who continue to fuel the demand for the sex trade. According to the story on Fox Chicago: 

"Members of the police Special Operations Group for several years have monitored a number of social networking websites, where suspected prostitutes and their pimps have advertised a variety of 'personal services' for sale. Undercover police officers have then arranged meetings with the suspects..."

For every woman in prostitution, there are customers in the community who are buying sex. However, no customers were mentioned by the reporter in this story.

We must stop ignoring customers. The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation interviewed 113 johns in our study "Deconstructing the Demand." The majority of johns said that they could be deterred from buying sex if they faced any consequences for their actions—arrest or having their cars towed. Very few had ever faced consequences for their crimes (only 7% in our study had ever been arrested).

Instead, johns who read this story online or in their local papers will learn that law enforcement continues to ignore them and instead arrests prostituted women and girls. We hope that an investigation into potential human trafficking will also be made in this case, in light of the fact that pimps seem to be involved.

We urge reporters to ask about issues of demand and human trafficking. Those living in Naperville and other Chicago suburbs who want to end prostitution should encourage their law enforcement to arrest johns. Without demand, there would be no prostitution.To find out how you can help and to sign up for our action alerts, visit End Demand Illinois.