Nearly 600 suspects arrested in national solicitation sting

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Monday, February 2, 2015

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A sting operation involving law enforcement agencies in 17 states resulted in the arrests of nearly 600 men on charges of soliciting sex.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's office said Monday that the operation began Jan. 15 and ended Sunday.

Dart launched the operation in 2011 and since then there have been more than 2,900 alleged sex solicitors who have been arrested.

During this latest operation another 23 suspects were arrested and charged with pimping, sex trafficking or promoting prostitution. Many suspects were arrested after answering online classified ads. Dart says part of the reason for the program is to highlight the role the websites play in prostitution.

"National Day of Johns Arrests" campaign by the numbers:

23 sex trafficking/pimping arrests

570 sex solicitation arrests (johns)

$341,330 in minimum fines

408 johns arrested as a result of fake ads

40 johns arrested as a result of fake Craigslist ads

221 cars towed/forfeited from johns

18 weapons seized from johns

4 narcotics charges for johns

83 victims recovered

54 adults

29 juveniles

The Phoenix PD recovered several women who revealed they had been trafficked in for the Super Bowl, which took place in suburban Glendale. One of the victims had broken ribs and black eyes as a result of a beating from her pimp, police said. She is now in recovery with her family.

The Cincinnati PD arrested two sex traffickers who had been using public computers at a local library to post prostitution ads on, police said.

The Las Vegas PD took a man into custody and will extradite him to Dayton, Ohio, to answer for federal human trafficking charges, police said.

The Harris County, Texas, Sheriff's Office arrested 100 johns. Law enforcement agencies in Texas combined for 162 johns arrests overall.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office recovered 20 adult victims, while Memphis PD recovered 19 juvenile victims.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office arrested 61 johns, several dozen of which were in partnership with Broadview, Lansing and Matteson police in the suburbs.

Among the johns arrested by Memphis PD were a youth counselor and an Arkansas state correctional officer, police said.

Seattle PD arrested six pimps and traffickers. Seattle PD also arrested 59 johns, resulting in $67,500 in fines for attempting to solicit sex.

Boston PD arrested six pimps or traffickers, one of whom actively tried to recruit an undercover officer to work for him by offering her a place to live and new clothes, police said. Of the 21 johns arrested by Boston PD, three had long and violent criminal histories, including kidnapping and assault, police said.

The Denver PD towed 18 cars from johns who attempted to solicit sex, police said.

And the Newport News PD recovered eight weapons among the 12 johns they arrested, police said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.