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posted: 8/21/2012 6:33 PM

66 men arrested in Cook County following nationwide prostitution sting

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Sixty-six men were arrested in Cook County this month as part of a nationwide prostitution sweep dubbed "Operation: Buyer Beware."

Twenty law enforcement agencies in 11 states conducted simultaneous stings on the streets, in hotels and over the Internet over a 10-day period earlier this month in an effort to curtail human trafficking, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Department, which served as the lead coordinating agency for the sweep.

"Human trafficking is a worldwide concern that is affecting even the smallest of communities and neighborhoods and occurring in even the safest of places," said Sheriff Tom Dart in a prepared statement.

The release said local participants included officers from the Cook and Kane County sheriff's departments and from the Aurora and Elgin police departments. Information on the number of Kane County arrests was not immediately available.

Law enforcement agencies have increasingly targeted buyers of sex, also known as "Johns," in an effort to end prostitution and sex trafficking, authorities said.

Of the 268 men arrested on charges of soliciting sex as part of the nationwide operation, 101 received civil citations or were charged with misdemeanors, including prostitution. Nine were arrested on charges of pimping or pandering. Authorities imposed nearly $300,000 in fines.

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