Will 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

Will County is in northeastern Illinois, in the Chicago metro area, and has a population of about 700,000 (the fourth-most populous county in the state). The county seat is the city of Joliet, and other communities include Romeoville and Matteson.  Prostitution activity have been well-documented in the cities and unincorporated areas of the county.  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 child sex trafficking, and the assault and murder of prostituted women.

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.  The Will County Sheriff’s Office and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office frequently work with local agencies to combat demand. For example, in early April 2015, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Matteson PD and CCSO had staged a second joint reversal in Matteson. The operation, launched in mid-March 2015, saw undercover officers place decoy advertisements to websites known for commercial sex sales. At least one john, a former law enforcement officer, was arrested after responded to the listing and arranging to meet the officer at a Matteson hotel. His name was publicized in media outlets, but it is unclear if it was released by law enforcement as part of a conscious effort to publicize the arrests of sex buyers, or had been obtained independently by members of the press.

The city of Joliet has focused on consumer-level demand since at least 1976, when reverse stings and identity disclosure were first used.  In one of the earlier stings that occurred in 1976, 24 male sex buyers were arrested for solicitation.  Another tactic used in Joliet is auto seizure.  In 2007, during a two day reverse sting, 30 men were arrested.  In addition to having their names, ages, and addresses published in local media, 27 of the men who were driving also had their vehicles towed.   In 2011, police arrested 11 sex buyers in a web-based reverse sting, and seized $2,000 and 11 cell phones from the alleged solicitors. Ten vehicles were also impounded.  Police received an additional 60 calls in response to the ads for sex, but couldn’t get to all of them.

The Romeoville Police Department conducts periodic web-based reverse stings.  For example, in October 2013 an operation resulted in the arrest of five sex buyers, and two vehicles were seized in the reverse sting. In April 2015, RPD officers arrested 20 sex buyers in a street-level operation, and all of the individuals arrested had their identities publicized in press.  In March 2019, two men were arrested in a reverse sting conducted at a Romeoville hotel.

Arrested sex buyers face fees totaling over $600 in connection with their solicitation arrest.  Often, these stings and arrests come as a result of complaints from the community about the sex trafficking in the area.

Key Partners

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

State Illinois
Type County
Population 697252
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