Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Sting Nets Over 500 Sex Buyers, 30 Pimps

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A national coalition of law enforcement agencies conducted a sting operation that led to 552 arrests – 522 would-be sex buyers (or “johns”) and 30 pimps or sex traffickers – Cook
County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.

The National Johns Suppression Initiative (NJSI) ran for approximately three weeks from Jan. 17 – Feb. 7 (Super Bowl Sunday), bringing together 23 law enforcement agencies throughout 14 states in
a widespread crackdown on the demand for purchased sex. These operations were launched by Sheriff Dart in 2011 to highlight the role of sex solicitors as perpetrators to this violent and exploitative industry, leading to the arrests of more than 4,400 total johns over 11 national stings.

The results of the latest National Johns Suppression Initiative reflect growing momentum for this national movement. The operation also targeted pimps and traffickers who have forced victims into
lives of prostitution. 30 men were taken into custody on charges of sex trafficking, pimping or promoting prostitution.

Among those agencies was the Sheriff’s Office of Santa Clara, the site of Super Bowl 50. “Sex trafficking continues to destroy countless lives, and this broad national movement should send a
strong message to prospective johns that their ‘hobby’ is much more than a ‘victimless’ crime,” said Sheriff Dart. “It’s particularly meaningful that this sting culminated on the day of the Super Bowl, which unfortunately has emerged as a prominent haven for sex trafficking.”

Cumulative numbers from the 2016 “National Johns Suppression Initiative” campaign are as follows:

30 sex trafficking arrests
522 sex solicitation arrests (johns)
$187,000 in minimum fines for sex solicitation
73 adult victims recovered
3 juvenile victims recovered

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office rescued 26 women, offering them protective and counseling services.

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