Pekin, 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

Pekin is a city of about 30,000 residents located roughly 10 miles south of Peoria, in Tazewell County, Illinois. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county. Police say that many of the prostituted persons in Pekin are from Peoria, and are dropped off by their sex traffickers/pimps to be exploited for a day or to in the area.  Others travel from Bloomington, Indiana. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results 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 2011, police conducted their first prostitution sting, deciding to focus on the sex buyers rather than the “providers” or victims of commercial sex.  Pekin police conducted three web-based reverse stings in a three week period, arresting 19 sex buyers and publicizing their names, ages, and home towns.  The arrested men were cited with violating a city ordinance, and paid a $200 fine.  In August 2012, a set of two more web-based reverse stings were conducted, resulting in seven arrests, and the names, ages, and addresses of arrestees were published in local new outlets. Several months earlier, officers noticed women who appeared to be engaging in prostitution during the late evening and early morning hours in downtown Pekin. They eventually learned the women had been brought to the city from Peoria to meet with sex buyers who arranged to meet them over the Internet.  Police then placed a fake ad on website, and in a 24-hour period had 125 voicemails. The Pekin Police Department hired three “informants” for $100 per night to play the part of the prostituted woman (i.e., serving as reverse sting decoy).  The implication is that the decoys were not police officers – an uncommon but not unprecedented practice.

Key Partners

  • Pekin Police Department
  • Local hotels allowing police use for reverse stings
  • Tazewell County District Court

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking in the Area:

Prostitution-Related Violence:

Local Prostitution Ordinances:

State Illinois
Type City
Population 32796
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