Woodford County is part of the Peoria, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area, and has a population of roughly 40,000. Its county seat is the city of Eureka. Prostitution activity has been well-documented throughout 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 are sex trafficking, child endangerment, and violence committed against people involved in these transactions.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies in their strategy for prevention and response. For example, in 2012, four men were arrested and faced criminal charges in Woodford County after sexual encounters with minors arranged through the internet. One 62 year old man allegedly traveled to Roanoke to have sex with a 13-year-old girl that he met on an Internet dating site. He was indicted by a Woodford County grand jury on charges of traveling to meet a minor and aggravated battery. The girl initially told the man she was 28 but later revealed her true age; the man then drove to the park in Roanoke to meet her. The man’s identity was publicly revealed. In another case, three men were arrested in July 2012 after going to a motel in El Paso Township with the intention of meeting a prostituted woman. They were caught in an Internet-based sting set up by the Multi-County Enforcement Group in Woodford County. Each man posted $100 to be released on misdemeanor counts. Their identities were included in news reports.
- Woodford County Sheriff’s Office
- Multi-County Enforcement Group
- Eureka Police Department
Reverse Stings, Shaming:
- https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/man-charged-with-meeting-underage-girl-arrested-in-prostitution-sting (2012)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: