- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2015

Some 570 would-be sex buyers were arrested in a national Super Bowl “sting” that ended on Super Bowl Sunday, an Illinois sheriff said Monday.

Another 23 people were arrested for trafficking or acting as pimps, and dozens of adults and juvenile victims were recovered.

“Sex trafficking continues to destroy countless live, and this broad national movement should send a strong message to prospective johns that their ‘hobby’ is much more than a ‘victimless’ crime,” said Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, lead organizer of the ninth “National Day of Johns Arrests.”

The Super Bowl sting operation ran from Jan. 15 to Feb. 1, and involved 37 law enforcement agencies in 17 states. These campaigns are aimed at cracking down on the demand for purchased sex.

In Phoenix, site of Sunday’s Super Bowl, several women were rescued, including one who suffered broken ribs and a black eye as a result of a beating from her pimp, police said.

The sting used fake ads in Backpage.com and Craigslist.com to attract people who pay for sex. Taken together, more than 70 percent of arrests were due to men responding to these “prostitution” ads.

Charges associated with the arrests included adult and juvenile felony sex trafficking, commercial sexual abuse of a minor, pimping and rape. Some cases also resulted in charges of kidnapping, drug trafficking and possession of illegal firearms.

The National Day of Johns Arrests operations, which started in 2011, have led to the arrests of 2,900 “johns” or men who purchase sex, said Sheriff Dart’s office, which was involved in dozens of the arrests announced Monday.

Other details of the operation:

* In Cincinnati, two sex traffickers were arrested after using public computers at a library to post prostitution ads on Backpage.com.

* In Memphis, police recovered 19 juvenile victims.

* In Boston, police arrested six pimps or traffickers, including one who tried to recruit an undercover officer to work for him in exchange for housing and clothes. Of the 21 johns arrested in Boston, three had “long and violent criminal histories,” including kidnapping and assault.

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