Johns (people who buy sex) aren’t often in the limelight. Instead, they face few consequences for their crimes and escape media scrutiny. Most news stories about prostitution focus on the women who are sold, while the buyers who drive demand remain invisible.
The stories in this newsletter seek to illuminate how efforts to hold pimps, johns and traffickers accountable are succeeding.
Law enforcement agencies are devoting more time and resources to addressing demand, and they are celebrating the effectiveness of this approach. We also reveal a few places where more work needs to be done
, including massage parlors and spas that hide trafficking in plain sight.
I hope you enjoy learning more about EDI and our partners’ work on the campaign.
Policy and Advocacy Director
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation
200+ Johns Arrested Nationwide
Local Law Enforcement Participates
Just last week, law enforcement arrested more than 200 johns in six cities nationwide in an effort to curb the demand for prostitution. It was called the National Day of Johns Arrests
, and locally purchasers were arrested in Cook County, Aurora and Elgin. We applaud these efforts, which included work from our partners at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office
. Nationally, 71 johns had their vehicles towed and many will pay fines or face other penalties. Read more about the national sting here.
27 Johns Charged in Local Operation
In August, we shared news about a local sting that brought down 10 pimps and traffickers in Cook County. During that sting, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
and the Cook County Sheriff also arrested and charged 27 johns.
“Suppressing demand is an integral part of our approach to ending sex trafficking,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
“Whether they realize it or not, johns often purchase sex from women and girls who have been trafficked into the sex trade. Buying sex fuels exploitation, and we are holding johns accountable for the harm they cause.” Read more about the local sting here.
What Do You Think of the New Website?
Launched this fall, the new www.enddemandillinois.org
website offers visitors an updated way to interact with the issues and take action. Many thanks to our volunteer designer and programmer
, Chad Goodrum
, who donated his time and talents to create the site. Please take a moment to explore the new EDI website and maybe even share it with a friend! Questions or ideas for improving the site? Email email@example.com
Partner Spotlight: CCH Offers Lobbying Expertise and Survivor Leadership
Many women in prostitution face barriers to exiting the sex trade, including untreated mental health issues, substance abuse and homelessness. The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH)
has always been a strong leader on the End Demand Illinois steering committee, and this year they have joined as an official partner for the campaign.
“We felt it was so important to be involved in EDI from the beginning,” said Daria Mueller, Associate Director of State Affairs for CCH. “Our focus has always been on ensuring that women have options to exit the sex trade. We realized that we also needed to create accountability for the people who were driving demand.”
Daria and CCH have been integral to passing both of EDI’s legislative efforts so far, the Illinois Safe Children Act and the Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Crimes Act. “We’ve been priming the state legislature for these kinds of issues for years. We’ve talked to lawmakers about changing the criminal response to prostitution and having programs and services for women who’ve been traumatized in the sex trade. It made perfect sense for CCH to help lead these lobbying efforts,” Daria said.
Survivor leadership from CCH has also been critical to the success of our legislation. Drea Hall, Senior Organizer for CCH, and Kennette Thomas, a survivor leader, traveled to Springfield this year to support the legislation. “It’s been crucial for legislators to see that women in prostitution are real people who need help and can thrive if given the chance," Daria said. "Many of the survivors aren’t lobbying for themselves, but for the women and girls who are still out there.”
CAASE is in the process of developing a litigation guide for attorneys to use the Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Crimes Act, and EDI is in the beginning stages of thinking through our next legislative initiative. “There’s a lot of work to do, and it helps to have a great partner like CAASE leading this campaign,” Daria said. “We can do so much more together, using our different talents and abilities for the greater good.”
Rockford Community Helps Local Survivor
The Rockford Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (RAASE) has started the first EDI community outside of Cook County, and they have celebrated a recent success. RAASE created a social service response for prostituted people during a recent sting, and a woman who had been offered services is now in treatment. Trafficked from out of state by a “boyfriend” who took her identification and left the area, the woman sought assistance to get a new ID and medical card. RAASE also helped to arrange for transportation until a bed opened in the treatment center. Learn more about EDI communities here.
Support the End Demand Campaign
Make a donation to the End Demand Illinois campaign now, through the CAASE website.Please indicate that your gift is for the End Demand campaign.
Thanks to Our Partners
End Demand Illinois is a campaign of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. Our campaign partners are: Polaris Project, Schiller DuCanto and Fleck Family Law Center at DePaul University College of Law, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, The Voices and Faces Project, and Cook County Sheriff's Women's Justice Programs.
View a full list of steering committee members here.
Thanks to Our Supporters
Thanks to our generous foundation sponsors, including:
NoVo Foundation, The Sophia Fund for Advocacy of the Chicago Foundation for Women, Full Circle Family Foundation, Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, and Lakshmi Foundation.