Bloomington is a city of approximately 77,000 residents, located in McLean County in central Illinois. In response to reports of suspected prostitution activity in and around the city’s rest areas, the Bloomington Police Department conducted a street-level reverse sting in November 1992. The operation, which employed two undercover female officers as decoys, resulted in the arrest of two truckers.
In late 1999, the BPD conducted a web sting to identify and apprehend johns attempting to purchase sex with minors online. Officers posted a decoy listing advertising commercial sex with an underage female. One man responded to the listing, and offered an undercover officer $190 to bring the minor to a designated location. Once arrested, his name and other identifying information were released to the public.
In the fall of 2013, Bloomington again focused on prostitution and sex trafficking, using tactics designed to combat consumer-level demand. In December 2013, the Bloomington Police Departments’ Street Crimes Division arrested four male patrons of a prostitution ring operating out of a local hotel. The men were arrested on suspicion of solicitation of a sexual act and were held in McLean County jail. For first-time offenders, the crime is a misdemeanor, and a Class 4 felony for all subsequent offenses. While the identities of the men were released by police, some media outlets did not name the four suspects, stating that they would wait until formal charges were filed by the state’s attorney’s office. In a news release, the Bloomington Police Department said “it uses various websites and other investigative techniques to disrupt and deter prostitution activity in the city.”
- Reverse Stings:
- Web Stings:
- “Internet Prostitution Sting Nets Twin City Man”, Bloomington Pantagraph, May 29 1999.
- “Solicitation Allegedly Happened by E-mail”, Bloomington Pantagraph, April 3 2002.
- “Defendant Testifies at Internet Sex Trial”, Bloomington Pantagraph, April 6 2002.
- “Bloomington Man Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WEEK-TV 25, November 14 2013.
- “Prostitution Sting; Solicitation Arrest”, Press Release, Bloomington Police Department, November 14 2013.
- “BPD Arrests 4 Men in Prostitution Sting”, Bloomington Pantagraph, December 31 2013.
- “Prostitution Sting; Four Males Arrested”, Press Release, Bloomington Police Department, December 31 2013.
- Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area: