Lake County has approximately 700,000 residents and is located in the northeastern corner of Illinois. Prostitution and sex trafficking are known to occur in the county; for example, in November 2012 one of three men involved in a Lake County human trafficking investigation pleaded guilty. In the last decade, the Lake County Sheriff’s Department has conducted several street-level reverse stings in and around the county’s strip clubs, in order to combat consumer-level demand for commercial sex. In November 2001, one such operation sent a female officer undercover as a decoy to loiter in one of the nightclub’s parking lots. In a matter of a few hours, seven johns were arrested for attempting to solicit sex from the undercover officer. Their names and other identifying information were not released to the media.
In June 2018, a former North Chicago police officer pleaded guilty to charge of patronizing a prostitute in Lake County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 12 months probation. Charges against the former officer resulted from a joint investigation conducted by the North Chicago Police Department and investigators from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office. Because he pleaded guilty to a felony, the defendant was no longer eligible to work as a police officer. He had initially been charged with official misconduct, patronizing a prostitute, and solicitation of a sexual act for alleged incidents involving two different women while on duty earlier in 2017, according to prosecutors. Under the plea deal, in exchange for the guilty plea for patronizing, the remaining charges were dismissed. Conditions of his sentence and probation include 75 hours of public service work, no contact with persons involved in the incident and a $750 fine as well as court costs.
In August 2018, a reverse sting conducted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Gang Task Force resulting in the arrest of eight men, all charged with solicitation of a sex act. Authorities said that among those arrested was a man charged with child endangerment for having his 5-year-old child in the back seat of his vehicle while he solicited an undercover officer. The efforts were part of a nationwide crackdown on sex-trafficking that resulted in the arrest of at least 473 sex buyers by law enforcement agencies across 12 states. A statement by the Cook County Sheriff said that the sex trafficking industry perpetuates violence, exploitation, mental illness and drug addiction for victims, and that the National Johns Suppression Initiative is designed to target and reduce the demand for purchased sex.
- Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- “13 Men Arrested for Soliciting Sex Online in Undercover Sting,” Lake County News Sun, August 9 2014.
- “19 People Are Arrested in Nationwide Prostitution Sting,” Arlington Heights Daily Herald, February 4 2015.
- “14 Johns Arrested in Lake County Prostitution Sting,” Chicago Sun-Times, September 12 2015.
- http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/crime/ct-lns-sheriff-arrests-johns-lake-county (2016)
- http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/crime/ct-lns-north-chicago-misconduct-arraignment (2017)
- http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20180628/former-north-chicago-cop-pleads-guilty-to-prostitution-charge (2018)
- http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/news/ct-lns-north-chicago-cop-prostitution (2018)
- http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/crime/ct-lns-north-chicago-cop-indicted (2018)
- http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/news/ct-lns-blotter-national-sex-sting (2018)
- http://www.news-gazette.com/news/2018-08-30/dozens-arrested-sex-trafficking-stings.html (2018)
- Sex Trafficking in the Area:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Dancers Sting Operation Nets Prostitution Charges,” Barrington Courier-Review, December 19 1996.
- “Strip Club Owner Decries Prostitution Convictions,” Lake Zurich Courier, July 9 1998.
- “Lap Dance Challenge Fails,” Waukegan News Sun, September 23 2000.
- “Judge Declares Mistrial in Prostitution Case,” Waukegan News Sun, December 14 2001.
- “Lake County in 60 Seconds; Prostitution Sting,” Arlington Heights Daily Herald, May 9 2008.
- “Arraignment in Libertyville Prostitution Case Postponed,” Lake County News Sun, January 23 2013.
- “Spa Worker Charged with Prostitution,” Lake County News-Sun, December 18 2015.