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Urbana is a city of approximately 42,000 residents, located in Champaign County, Illinois. It is included in the Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area, in eastern Illinois. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in other areas of the county. The inherent problems and crimes it generates result in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. A wide range of additional crimes associated with the local sex trade have also been documented, including sex trafficking. For example, in May 2018, a man was charged by federal law enforcement with sex trafficking in Champaign County. He was arrested by Urbana police and was later investigated for federal charges, based on the man’s violation of the commercial sex trafficking act. The defendant was alleged to have coerced prostituted women to have paid sex, and for him to collect the money, as well as transport them for prostitution to and from hotels in Champaign and Urbana between September and December 2017.
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. Sex buyers have been arrested and had their identities publicly disclosed. For example, in 2018 a man was accused of sexually assaulting a woman several times in an apartment. Investigators said the man was intoxicated when he began arguing with a woman about money. He demanded that she prostitute herself, then assaulted her when she refused. Prosecutors say he threw her to the ground after hitting her, then pulled her into a bedroom by the hair. He’s accused of sexually assaulting her again after asking her to prostitute herself a second time. The woman escaped when a neighbor came to the door to find out what was going on, the newspaper reports, then called the police. The man was also accused of hitting that neighbor. Investigators say the men attempted to flee and they had to bring him to the ground when he refused to stop a bike he was riding. A News-Gazette report said the woman’s arms, legs, and back and redness and swelling on them when police found her. The man was charged with two aggravated criminal sexual assault counts, aggravated domestic battery and domestic battery. He has a past domestic battery conviction on his record and could face up to 30 years in prison if he’s found guilty. His bond is set at $500,000 in Champaign County. This case is not a typical sex buyer case, as the man was charged with other offenses, and in addition to forcing sex with a woman he was trying to force into prostitution, also served as a trafficker.
- Champaign Police Department
- Champaign County Sheriff’s Office
Arrest of Sex Buyer, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.wandtv.com/police-man-sexually-assaulted-woman-after-demanding-prostitution/ (2018)
- https://www.news-gazette.com/champaign-man-convicted-of-rape-battery/ (2019)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://www.smilepolitely.com/Prostitution_in_C-U_Part_Two/ (2008)
- https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/illinois-man-sentenced-15-years-prison-producing-child-pornography (2013)
- https://www.urbanacitizen.com/grand-jury-indicts-man-for-promoting-prostitution (2015)
- http://www.wandtv.com/police-man-sexually-assaulted-woman-after-demanding-prostitution (2018)
- http://www.news-gazette.com/two-champaign-accused-aiding-alleged-sex-trafficking-ring.html (2018)
- https://www.wandtv.com/news/former-champaign-police-officer-charged-with-soliciting-prostitute (2018)
- https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-WoodSpring_Suites Urbana_Illinois (2019)
- https://www.fredericknewspost.com/urbana-man-charged-with-soliciting-sex-from-a-minor (2020)
- https://www.justice.gov/central-illinois-sex-trafficker-sentenced-life-prison (2021)
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