Indianapolis legislature and law enforcement expected to deal with sex traffickers locally during Super Bowl weekend, but police and FBI departments broadened their attention to a nationwide sting of sex buyers. The ten days of surveillance and arrests, known as “The National Day of Johns Arrests”, culminated February 6 with 314 men in eight states being booked on sex solicitation charges.
The states involved in the sting:
- Illinois (Orland Park, Aurora, Elgin, and Kane and Cook Counties)
- Indiana (Indianapolis)
- Massachusetts (Boston)
- California (Los Angeles)
- Arizona (Phoenix)
- Nevada (Las Vegas)
- Virginia (Newport News)
- Ohio (Cincinnati and Dayton)
Local police and FBI departments tracked down a total of 565 individuals by targeting likely transaction places–hotels, street corners, brothels and Internet websites. Other charges included misdemeanors (227-some of which were for prostitution), human trafficking (2), pimping (5), pandering (3), theft (4), possession of drugs (10), weapons (12).
State laws are casting attention more on the demand side of the sex for sale equation and giving tougher penalties to the purchasers of sex, especially cases involving minors. Some locales have “john schools” for the arrested customers. Here they have opportunity to avoid prosecution by paying a stiff fine and taking a one day class on the effects of paid sex for them and the community.
States are also making progress in treating the prostituted persons as victims rather than as criminals, and offering assistance for them to turn their lives around. Agencies such as StreetLightUSASM, which cares for female teen sex trafficking victims, work very closely with local law enforcement and social services organizations so the rescued girls can have a safe place and the multitude of needed resources for a second chance.