Bedford Park, IL
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Bedford Park is a village in Cook County, Illinois, and is an industrial suburb of Chicago. Its population is just under 600 residents. Bedford Park consists of a small residential area and vast amounts of heavy industry distributed mostly to the east. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been persistent and well-documented problems throughout Cook County for decades, and has included activity within Bedford Park. Bedford Park police have participated in large-scale regional collaborations to address sex trafficking. For example, they participated 2013 and 2015 “Operation Cross Country” actions across the region, assisting the FBI, Cook County Sheriff’s Police, Amtrak Police, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Police, and numerous municipal police agencies police in Alsip, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Bedford Park, Elgin, Elk Grove Village, Lansing, and Rockford. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office were also involved.
Among the efforts to address the wide range of collateral crimes and problems arising from the local sex trade have been the use of commercial sex demand reduction tactics. For example, in December, 2021, officers with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Special Victims Unit arrested 16 men and towed 11 vehicles as part of an undercover operation targeting individuals seeking to buy sex on the internet. SVU officers set up a sting operation in Bedford Park after placing ads online using websites that are known for advertising sexual services. During the course of the operation, 16 men responded to the ads and traveled to the designated location, where they solicited sex from an undercover officer in exchange for money. Each man was then arrested and issued a $1,000 citation for violation of the Cook County public morals nuisance ordinance. A total of 11 vehicles were towed under the ordinance, requiring the vehicle owner to pay $500 to reclaim possession. The CCSO offers services and support to trafficked and sexually exploited individuals they encounter during such operations.
- Cook County Sheriff’s Office
- Police Special Victims Unit
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- https://www.cookcountysheriff.org/more-than-a-dozen-men-arrested-in-sheriffs-police-john-sting-operation/ (2021)
Background on Local Sex Trafficking and Prostitution:
- https://abc7chicago.com/archive/9189646/ (2013)
- https://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-fbi-child-prostitution-arrests-chicago (2013)
- https://www.dailyherald.com/prostitution-arrests-in-nationwide-sex-trafficking-sweep- (2013)
- https://www.fbi.gov/fbi-announces-results-of-nationwide-human-trafficking-operation (2015)
Local Prostitution Ordinance:
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