Sangamon County, 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

Sangamon County is a county located in central Illinois, within the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its population is roughly 195,000, and its county seat and largest city is Springfield. Prostitution has been identified by law enforcement as a substantial problem in the city of Springfield and the other areas of the county dating back to the 1800s, and in recent decades, has generated a vast array of ancillary crimes and complaints to police. Among the more serious issues associated with the local commercial sex market are sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. For example, in January 2018, a Springfield City Water, Light and Power (CWLP) employee was arrested on a variety of charges including promoting prostitution and human trafficking, and also was charged with official misconduct for allegedly using a city-owned vehicle to transport a woman who was involved in prostitution, according to the Sangamon County State’s Attorney’s Office. The man had been arrested by Springfield detectives with the assistance of the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Fugitives Task Force. The man was suspected in several incidents where women were recruited into prostitution under his direction, and was taken to the Sangamon County Jail and charged with promoting prostitution, involuntary servitude, trafficking persons, and official misconduct. The man allegedly allegedly befriended the women and then convinced them to work in prostitution. City officials said the man was placed on unpaid administrative leave from his job at CWLP pending a review of the charges. He had been employed as a messenger clerk at CWLP since January 2016. He also was elected in March 2016 as the Democratic committeeman for Capital Precinct 48 after being appointed to the position in 2014. The Sangamon County Democratic chair said that there was no provision for removing an elected official until the legal process has completed itself. The charge of trafficking involves a potential penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

More recently, a man received multiple life sentences for sex trafficking young women in Central Illinois, where he abused women he recruited from Sangamon, Champaign, and Peoria counties. Prosecutors said that in 2017 and 2018, the offender degraded, manipulated, and exploited these victims, who were fighting drug addiction and homelessness. Media reports have also documented several cases of targeted rape and murder of prostituted women in the city, as well as the robbery and attempted murder of male sex buyers. For example, in 2002, a sex buyer (and Springfield city official) was stabbed in the chest by a 14-year-old trafficked girl after he sexually abused her in exchange for money.

In response to such concerns, several tactics have been implemented that attack the consumer-level demand for prostitution that drives all commercial sex and sex trafficking. For example, the Springfield Police Department – sometimes in collaboraiton with the Sangamon Country Sheriff’s Office – has conducted both street-level and web-based reverse stings using undercover female officers as decoys. As buyers attempt to solicit sex from the women, they are arrested by police. The SPD has also at times released arrestees’ names and other identifying information to the local media. Using a Springfield City Ordinance, officers may also impound sex buyers’ vehicles until they pay an administrative fee.

Loss of employment is also a consequence of buying sex within the county. For example, in 2018, a former Illinois State Police trooper was arrested for soliciting prostitution after the Champaign Police Department and the Illinois State Police were alerted of his alleged activity. According to reports, the sex buyer attempted to solicit sex acts from a prostituted woman through in exchange for $120. As a result of his arrest, the sex buyer was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the results of the investigation. After pleading guilty, the sex buyer was sentenced to an 18-month conditional discharge, which required him to resign from his position within 30 days and pay the Champaign County Circuit Clerk a $500 fine. He was eventually terminated from his position with the SPD by administrators in the Springfield office.

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Sex Buyers Arrests, Loss of Employment:

Auto Seizure:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, January 29 1987.
  • “Police Arrest 13 Men on Soliciting Charges”, Springfield State Journal-Register, May 22 1987.
  • “Eleven Men Arrested for Soliciting Prostitution”, Springfield State Journal-Register, April 3 1988.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, August 15 1988.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, May 17 1993.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, July 29 1995.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, August 18 1996.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, December 24 1998.
  • “Prostitution Sting Nets Seven Arrests”, Springfield State Journal-Register, August 12 1999.
  • “7 Arrested during Prostitution Sting”, Springfield State Journal-Register, July 19 2000.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, May 30 2003.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, June 11 2003.
  • “Police Use New Approach to Root Out Prostitution; Often-Ignored Problem Fought with Stings, Outreach”, Springfield State Journal-Register, June 15 2003.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, July 2 2003.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, November 26 2003.
  • “On the Streets; Officers Dress as Prostitutes, Johns to Confront Crime”, Springfield State Journal-Register, March 28 2004.
  • “Police Officers Participating in Stings Must Avoid Entrapment”, Springfield State Journal-Register, March 28 2004.
  • “Successful Decoys Go Beyond Dressing the Part”, Springfield State Journal-Register, March 28 2004.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, June 30 2004.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, August 21 2006.
  • “5 Accused of Sex Crimes in Parks”, Springfield State Journal-Register, October 10 2008.
  • “Springfield Alderman Charged with Solicitation of Sex”, NBC/WAND-TV 17, August 10 2009.
  • “Police Report: Cahnman Said He Would Pay 3 Women”, Springfield State Journal-Register, August 21 2009.
  • “Alderman Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Solicitation Charge”, Springfield State Journal-Register, October 13 2009.

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, August 15 1985.
  • “4 Accused of Trying to Force Woman to Become Prostitute”, Springfield State Journal-Register, March 28 1986.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, July 23 1986.
  • “Woman Loses Custody of 2-Year-Old Daughter”, Springfield State Journal-Register, October 14 1988.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, October 18 1988.
  • “Judge Finds Woman Fit to Stand Trial”, Springfield State Journal-Register, May 24 1989.
  • “Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Charges She Tried to Sell Child as Prostitute”, Springfield State Journal-Register, May 31 1989.
  • “Police Beat”, Springfield State Journal-Register, July 2 1995.
  • “Stabbed Motorist Identified; Belongs to Board that Oversees Hiring of Police Officers”, Springfield State Journal-Register, January 19 2002.
  • “Civil Service Commission Member Faces Sex Charges; Indictment Alleges Relations with Underage Prostitute”, Springfield State Journal-Register, March 28 2002.
  • “Jasmon Sentenced to Conditional Discharge”, Springfield State Journal-Register, August 29 2003.
  • “Police Say Man Running Teen Prostitution Ring”, CBS/WCIA-TV 3, March 29 2013.
  • (2018)
State Illinois
Type County
Population 194734
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