Wilmette, 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

Wilmette is a village of about 28,000 residents, located on the northern outskirts of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, near Evanston. Prostitution activity has been reported in the community since at least the 1980s, and in recent years has operated primarily from within adult-oriented businesses and at local hotels. For example, in January 2016 a 22-year-old woman was arrested and charged after police said there were complaints of prostitution activities at a local hotel. Police stated that they located her through an online web site and arrested her after she agreed to engage in sexual intercourse with an undercover officer in exchange for $200. In January 2022, a woman was arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor prostitution after an undercover officer went into her business, a spa on Ridge Road, received a massage and was propositioned for a sexual act in exchange for money. Police said they identified the business on prostitution-related websites. The village has also documented at least one case of sexual exploitation of minors; in 2008, a Wilmette resident and physician was convicted of felony possession of child pornography (i.e., child sexual abuse materials) and misdemeanor distribution of a controlled substance after he gave a 17-year-old girl “sample doses of prescription drugs” and made “a video of her dancing in her underwear for money” in his home.

In an effort to reduce illegal sex activity in the community, the Wilmette Police Department has conducted at least one reverse sting targeting sex buyers. In early February 2015, WPD officers– with the support of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Evanston, Skokie, Lincolnwood, and Oakbrook Terrace Police Departments– placed a decoy online advertisement on a “social media network,” and arranged to meet the individuals who responded at a nearby hotel. Seven sex buyers were arrested as a result. All of their names, ages, addresses, and arrest photos were released to the public. In the days following the operation, a representative with the WPD reported that the hotel used to stage the sting had cooperated fully with law enforcement, going so far as to say “they were very helpful in offering up their facility to assist our investigation.”

Key Partners

  • Wilmette Police Department
  • Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
  • Evanston Police Department
  • Skokie Police Department
  • Lincolnwood Police Department
  • Oakbrook Terrace Police Department
  • Local hotels

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

State Illinois
Type City
Population 27587
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