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Orland Hills is a village in Cook County, Illinois with a population of about 7,000. Like in most communities, prostitution activity is known to occur in Orland Hills, generating associated crimes 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 toward reducing consumer-level demand for commercial sex. Some of these efforts have been 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, during 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. Orland Hills police arrested seven sex buyers, according to the sheriff’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. Since the Sheriff began the NJSI operations in 2011, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and participating agencies from across the country had arrested more than 9,500 sex buyers through July 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 prostituted persons, 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 set a price for the sexual service, and after the price is agreed to, the bot sent a deterrence message letting the sex buyer know that soliciting sex is a crime, and directed 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 was also used in Minneapolis during the day of the Super Bowl on February 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 PD again participated.
- Orland Hills Police Department
- Cook County Sheriff’s Office
Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure, IT-Based Tactics:
- 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)
- https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/390-arrested-in-nationwide-prostitution-sting-including-38-in-cook-county (2019)
Background on Prostitution in the Area: