Orland Hills is a village in Cook County, Illinois, and has a population of about 7,300. Like in most communities, prostitution activity is known to occur in Orland Hills, generating associated crime and community disorder, as well as complaints to law enforcement agencies. Among the tactics used to address these problems in Orland Hills are those directed towards reducing consumer level demand for commercial sex. Some of these efforts are done in collaboration with county and state agencies, and Orland Hills police have participated in the national law enforcement efforts targeting sex buyers that are coordinated by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. For example, the 15th annual National Johns Suppression Initiative, which ran from early January 2018 to February 2018. Matteson and Orland Hills were among the south suburban police departments that arrested 31 sex buyers as part of a nearly month long national sex trafficking sting operation. Orland Hills police arrested seven sex buyers, according to Sheriff Dart’s office. In addition to police in Illinois, law enforcement agencies in states including, California, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin were part of the initiative, according to Dart. Since Sheriff Dart began the NJSI operations in 2011, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and participating agencies from across the country have arrested more than 9,500 sex buyers through July of 2019.
The 2018 reverse sting also featured new technology, with the Cook County Sheriff’s office collaborating with the organization “Seattle Against Slavery” to launch a “bot,” called Project Intercept, in six municipalities during the nationwide operation. The bot posted ads online with phone numbers that connected to other online bots posing as prostitutes, carrying names such as Ariel, Brook and Cari, and interacting via text message with individuals seeking to buy sex. During the interactions, the bot eventually sets a price for the sexual service, and after the price is agreed to, the bot sends a deterrence message letting the sex buyer know that soliciting sex is a crime, and directs potential buyers to websites with more information on the harms of soliciting sex. In addition to Cook County, the bot was activated in Boston,MA; King County and Seattle, WA; Los Angeles County, CA; and Phoenix, AZ. The bots engaged with a total of 9,114 potential sex buyers. More than 60 percent of sex buyers maintained the interactions through enough steps to receive the deterrence message. The bot also was used in Minneapolis during the day of the Super Bowl on Feb. 4 and recorded the most interaction of all active cities that day. The bots have been added in some of the cities participating in the National Johns Suppression Initiative (NJSI) operations. For example in the 18th NJSI operations in July, 2019, the Orland Hills OD again participated.
- Orland Hills Police Department
- Cook County Sheriff’s Office
Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://www.cookcountysheriff.org/national-sex-trafficking-sting-nets-630-sex-buyers-pimps-traffickers/ (2018)
- http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/crime/ct-sta-sex-trafficking-blotter-south-suburbs (2018)
- http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/chicago-sex-trafficking-sting-net-31-arrests-national-total-of-arrests-tops-600/ (2018)
- https://patch.com/illinois/grayslake/prostitution-sting-results-arrests-grayslake-man-13-others (2019)
- https://www.cookcountysheriff.org/national-sex-buyer-sting-nets-more-than-500-arrests/ (2019)