Monday, July 29, 2013

FBI Sting and the Local Issue of Sex Trafficking

Today the FBI announced that more than 150 arrests had been made in stings targeting the sex trafficking of children throughout the United States. Two of the victims were from Chicagoland. We are so glad to see how much media attention is being paid to this today. Sadly there are many, many more minors and adults being exploited in the sex trade in Illinois.

Just this weekend, the Chicago Sun-Times ran an op-ed from Aldermen Bob Fioretti and Toni Foulkes proposing a zero-tolerance policy for sex trafficking in our city. CAASE has been partnering with Fioretti and Foulkes to address the City of Chicago’s response to sex trafficking. They recently called a City Council hearing on human trafficking, during which they heard more about local law enforcement efforts:

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez testified that her office has brought more than 77 charges against local sex traffickers. These are local people who have been forcing local women and girls into the sex trade. Over and over, investigations are showing that most people in Chicago’s sex trade are not there by choice, but because someone has forced or coerced them into it. That, by definition, is sex trafficking.
By federal definition, all minors in the sex trade are victims of trafficking. That is also the case in Illinois (though it's not so in every state). There are many people in our community who are willing to buy sex from minors, and this demand causes the sex trade to thrive. Aldermen Fioretti and Foulkes understand the intrinsic connection. They wrote:

Maybe you think that prostitution can’t be stopped. The truth is that the people who are fueling all of this harm are going unpunished in our city. In 2011, there were only 41 charges made against pimps, buyers or traffickers in Chicago, in comparison to the more than 2,300 prostitution-related charges. The message to buyers needs to be clear: We won’t tolerate your behavior in our city.

We applaud Aldermen Fioretti and Foulkes for their leadership on this important issue and look forward to working with them to realize their vision of zero-tolerance for sex trafficking. 

Our End Demand Illinois campaign is working to transform our state's response to prostitution and sex trafficking. We passed the Illinois Safe Children Act in 2010, which makes all minors in our state immune from prosecution for prostitution. To learn more about our campaign, visit

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