Cook County sheriff's office arrests 45 as part of national sex-trafficking sting

Daily Herald report
Updated 7/31/2019 3:40 PM

Cook County sherriff's police arrested 45 suspected johns as part of a nationwide five-week, anti-trafficking operation that led to the arrest of more than 500 suspected sex buyers, authorities said Wednesday.

The 18th National Johns Suppression Initiative, conducted by 26 law enforcement agencies across 11 states, included street-level reverse stings and online stings with police posting decoy ads on multiple trafficking-related websites. Agencies in six cities also deployed decoy internet ads linked to artificial intelligence (AI) bots that interacted with thousands of johns.


The operation ran from June 23 through July 28. Among the 503 sex buyers arrested, eight were charged with soliciting a minor and 18 face charges related to trafficking, authorities said. Thirty-four individuals, including three minors, were recovered and offered services. More than half the arrests were related to internet ads.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart started NJSI in 2011 to draw national attention to the role sex buyers play in fueling sex trafficking. Since then, the sheriff's police and more than 140 participating agencies have arrested more than 9,500 johns, his office said.

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