Close to 500 people were arrested in a nationwide sex trafficking sting, an operation that began in Cook County eight years ago.
Among those arrested were a Seattle mother who was pimping out her 15-year-old daughter in Texas and a federal border agent who was caught soliciting sex in uniform. And in Cook County, a john was arrested for trying to make a deal with a decoy prostitute while riding a bike.
Cook County sheriff Tom Dart believes the new way to take on the oldest profession is having impact. Their approach is simple: focus on the pimps, traffickers and Johns.
“By going at it in a more surgical way like we have, we are making a dent,” Dart said.
Over 18 days nearly 30 law enforcement agencies across the country conducted sting operations by using decoys and fake ads on back page and craigslist - two popular sites for sex trafficking.
This year, 14 pimps were arrested, 184 Johns and more than 232 cars were forfeited after arrests were made. 111 prostitutes including 13 juveniles were recovered and possible have a chance at a new life.
“If you want to solve the problem instead of just arresting your way out of it , work with the women to get them out of the profession get them in to counseling, have them take care of their kids and pay taxes,” Dart said.