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Home > Press Page

Wednesday, February 8, 2017COOK COUNTY, IL – In an effort to target and reduce sex trafficking, a national coalition of law enforcement agencies conducted coordinated sting operations that led to 752* arrests, including 723 sex buyers (or “johns”) and 29 pimps or sex traffickers.

In its 13th operation, the National Johns Suppression Initiative (NJSI) ran from Jan. 18 – Feb. 5 (Super Bowl Sunday) and included nearly 30 law enforcement agencies across 15 states. Both the arrest number and the participation level were the highest to-date for Super Bowl operations since the initiative began. Among the arresting agencies were the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Police – the law enforcement agencies within the city that hosted Super Bowl 51.

NJSI operations were conceived of and launched by Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart in 2011 to bring further attention to the tragic and exploitive nature of the sex trafficking industry. Since the operations began, Cook County Sheriff’s Police and participating agencies from across the country have arrested more than 6,500 sex buyers and traffickers.

To further illustrate the exploitation associated with sex trafficking, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has released an associated report titled “Buyers and Sellers: A Window into Sex Trafficking.” The report explores the duality of the lives of sex buyers and sex trafficking victims based on anonymous arrest data of sex buyers collected in NJSI operations and interviews with victims over the course of a four-year period.

According to the data, sex buyers are more often Caucasian, at least high school educated, and in many cases, college educated, middle-aged-or-older men. Many are married and very few are unemployed.

According to interviews of those who self-reported as being involved in prostitution, most started before they turned 21, used drugs – most often highly addictive drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine. A majority reported experiencing violence against them, including sexual assault as an adult or child.

Cumulative numbers from the 13th NJSI operation are as follows:

Noteworthy anecdotes from the operation include:

Agencies who participated in the 13th NJSI* include:

*Number subject to change based on additional law enforcement agencies reporting

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