Wilmette is a village of just under 30,000 residents, located on the northern outskirts of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, near Evanston. Prostitution activity has been reported in the community for several years, primarily from within adult-oriented businesses and at local hotels. 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 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 sales 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 johns 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.”
- 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
- Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “Seven Arrested in Undercover Prostitution Sting in Wilmette,” Chicago Tribune, February 6 2015.
- “7 Charged in Wilmette Prostitution Sting; Multi-Jurisdictional Effort Results in Arrests at Wilmette Hotel,” Wilmette-Kenilworth Patch, February 7 2015.
- “Wilmette Police Help Make Series of Prostitution Arrests,” Wilmette Beacon, February 7 2015.
- https://patch.com/illinois/evanston/7-charged-wilmette-prostitution-sting- (2015)
- Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Police `Hunks’ Net Suspected Hookers in ‘Show Time’ Sting,” Chicago Sun-Times, June 7 1987.
- “Salon Workers Charged with Prostitution,” Wilmette Life, January 30 1997.
- “Wilmette Seeks to Revoke License of Massage Parlor,” Wilmette Life, February 6 1997.
- “Wilmette Closes Massage Parlor,” Glencoe News, February 7 1997.
- “Closed Massage Parlor Won’t Seek New License,” Wilmette Life, February 13 1997.
- “Man Nicked for Prostitution,” Wilmette Life, January 8 2015.
- “Blotter: Sex Act Offered in Wilmette,” Wilmette Life, January 11 2015.