Ottawa, IL

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Ottawa is a city of about 19,000 residents located at the confluence of the Illinois River and Fox River in LaSalle County.  The city is located in the north central region of Illinois, approximately 100 miles from Chicago. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the communities and unincorporated areas of the county, including Ottawa, the county seat. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is sex trafficking.

Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. In May 2019, the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office announced that nine men had been charged with solicitation after a multi-year investigation into prostitution and drugs in the area. In a statement, the Lasalle County Sheriff said the investigation began after receiving complaints from Illinois Valley citizens regarding prostitution. The Lasalle County Sheriff’s Office and the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Narcotics Team were assisted in this investigation by the Ottawa and Peru police departments. During the investigation, law enforcement personnel spoke to several female drug users who advised them about the connection between substance abuse and prostitution. Ottawa and Peru authorities targeted individuals allegedly soliciting another individual for sexual acts. After gathering statements and reviewing evidence, nine men ages 18-66 from three counties were charged with one count each of misdemeanor solicitation. One of the men was additionally charged with misdemeanor charges of attempted solicitation and battery. All of those charged were issued court dates with a notice to appear. The nine men included the mayor of Sandwich, a Putnam County attorney, and a Peru hospital executive, and all were charged after an investigation into prostitution in Lasalle County.

Key Partners

  • Ottawa Police Department
  • Lasalle County Sheriff’s Office
  • Tri-County Drug Enforcement Narcotics Team
  • Peru Police Department
State Illinois
Type City
Population 18742
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