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Lansing is a city of less than 30,000 residents, located in eastern Illinois in Cook County, near Hammond, Indiana and south of Calumet City, Illinois. Cases of prostitution and child sex trafficking have been documented in the community. For example, in 2013, two men faced charges following an investigation into alleged child sex trafficking at a Lansing motel. One man was charged with two counts of human trafficking, one count of involuntary servitude, and one count of involuntary servitude of a minor. A tip reportedly led police to the motel, where they found two men with a 19-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl. Police also found postings on Backpage.com advertising the two people for prostitution. Their investigation determined one of the men was a pimp who arranged the prostitution of the adult and trafficked the child over several months in hotels in the south suburbs and northwest Indiana.
In their efforts to reduce commercial sex activity locally, law enforcement have conducted reverse stings in Lansing targeting sex buyers. Lansing Police Department officers participated in the “National Day of John Arrests” operation occurring in late January and early February 2014. During the operation, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Lansing Police Department arrested six sex buyers and seized six vehicles. The men were charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution; each was charged $1,000 in fines.
In early February 2016, CCSO and LPD officers announced the completion of another reverse sting in the community. The operation, conducted at a local hotel using a female undercover officer, was one of at least two anti-prostitution details staged in Cook County in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl– the other was staged in nearby Matteson. In the days following the operations, the Chicago Tribune interviewed the Matteson Police Chief who indicated that 20 sex buyers had been intercepted during the two stings, 13 of whom were picked up in Lansing. Their identities were not disclosed to the public, but the MPD officer reported that those arrested “face[d] a $500 fine, plus a $500 administration fee and towing fines if they used a vehicle in their attempt to buy sex.”
A May 2022 report confirmed the LPD still conducted regular web-based reverse stings at hotels in the city, each resulting in 14 arrests on average, most of whom were sex buyers. Sex buyers are charged at least $500 in the form of a municipal fee.
- Cook County Sheriff’s Office
- Lansing Police Department
Reverse Stings with Auto Seizure:
- “National Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Sting Results in 373 Arrests”, Press Release, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, February 6 2014.
- “Southland Prostitution Sting Nets 20 Arrests,” Chicago Tribune, February 10 2016.
- https://patch.com/illinois/grayslake/prostitution-sting-results-arrests-grayslake-man-13-others (2019)
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “Alleged Use of Girls in Sex Ring Detailed”, Gary Post-Tribune, March 21 2009.
- “Feds: Men Used Violence to Pimp Prostitutes”, Times of Northwest Indiana, March 21 2009.
- “Man Admits to Role in Prostitution”, Times of Northwest Indiana, October 29 2009.
- “Operation Targets Child Prostitution; 3 Underage Victims in Chicago Area”, Chicago Sun-Times, November 9 2010.
- “Hammond Man Gets Life for Pimping, Violence”, Chicago Southtown Star, December 7 2010.
- “Hammond Pimp Gets Life in Prison”, Chicago Sun-Times, December 9 2010.
- “Dolton Twins Get Four Years for Human Trafficking”, Times of Northwest Indiana, February 10 2011.
- “Ind. Woman Charged with Promoting Juvenile Prostitution in Lansing”, Times of Northwest Indiana, March 16 2012.
- “Two Area Police Departments Cooperate in Federal Action Targeting Child Prostitution”, Times of Northwest Indiana, June 25 2012.
- “Lansing Police Arrest 2 in Child Prostitution Investigation”, Times of Northwest Indiana, September 10 2012.
- “Dolton Man Accused of Selling Girl for Sex”, Times of Northwest Indiana, June 2 2013.
- “$1M Bond for Man Charged after Prostitution Sting”, Chicago Southtown Star, June 3 2013.
- “Dolton Man Accused of Pimping Minor”, Chicago Sun-Times, June 3 2013.
- “2 Children in Chicago Recovered During Nationwide Operation Targeting Child Prostitution”, Times of Northwest Indiana, July 29 2013.
- “2 Men Charged in Prostitution Ring in Chicago, Suburbs,” Chicago Tribune, January 15 2016.
- https://thelansingjournal.com/policing-the-worlds-oldest-profession-in-lansing (2022)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Highland Woman Charged with Keeping a Place of Prostitution”, Times of Northwest Indiana, September 10 2011.
- “Lansing Spa Owner, Workers Face Prostitution Charges”, Chicago Sun-Times, September 11 2011.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Four Arrests in Lansing”, Times of Northwest Indiana, March 25 2013.
- “Prostitution Becomes Municipal Offense in Lansing”, Times of Northwest Indiana, August 21 2013.
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