Massive Sex Trafficking Bust Slammed by Human Rights Advocates, as 1,000+ Arrested

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(TFTP) From Seattle to Tuscaloosa, police arrested more than 1,000 people in just one month — including a law enforcement officer and pastor — as part of a sweeping crackdown on child sex offenders, and juvenile and adult sex trafficking in the United States.

Police from 37 departments in 17 states participated in the annual National Johns Suppression Initiative — a regular effort to ostensively crackdown on human trafficking and illegal sex work — rescuing 81 adult and child victims and arresting 1,020 people from Seattle to Chicago, and Texas to Tuscaloosa in the monthlong effort spearheaded by Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart.

Harris County, Texas, saw the largest number of people arrested, 170, while police in Seattle nabbed 160 alleged perpetrators and authorities throughout Cook County, seat of Chicago, arrested 141.

“Three brothels were shut down in Cook County by the sheriff’s office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the sheriff’s office said. Three people were charged with operating brothels and four others were charged with patronizing them. Six adult victims were offered help,” CBS News reports.

Meanwhile, CNN reports, “In Arizona, officials said more than 400 people were discouraged from buying sex when they received texts, calls or Web browser redirects informing them about the impact of the illegal sex industry.

“Dart announced Thursday that his office will began efforts to create a public database that lists sex buyers who are caught for a second or subsequent time.”

Reports say more than 8,000 people have been arrested during the National Johns Suppression Initiative — just since 2011 — as the project continues taking aim at human trafficking and prostitution by arresting patrons, johns, pimps, and other sex offenders, while finding victims the assistance they may need.

On the surface, the news of more than 1,000 arrests sounds productive, if not sorely needed; but, scratch the gilding from this supposed payoff, and controversy — particularly that surrounding what many now view as an anachronistic view of sex work — bubbles furiously to the top.

As Elizabeth Nolan Brown pointed out sardonically for Reason, following a previous johns bust in 2015,

“These coordinated efforts to entrap people around the country lead to large initial arrest-counts, ensuring them prominent placement in U.S. media. But few outlets ask questions about specific charges, merely accepting police PR that these were predators arrested and not largely adult men and women trying to have consensual sex. Nor do many folks follow up on the results of these stings. If they did, it would become clear that the ‘National John Suppression Initiative’ has naught to do with stopping sexual exploitation of minors.”

Charlotte Alter, who accompanied police during stings for the initiative in Cook County for TIME Magazine, notes, “some human rights organizations, most recently Amnesty International, advocate for the decriminalization of all aspects of sex work, including buying sex.”

Indeed, the International watchdog organization published its policy on protection of the world’s sex workers in 2015. Reiterating the contents of that policy in May last year, Amnesty wrote,

“The policy makes several calls on governments including for them to ensure protection from harm, exploitation and coercion; the participation of sex workers in the development of laws that affect their lives and safety; an end to discrimination and access to education and employment options for all.

“It recommends the decriminalization of consensual sex work, including those laws that prohibit associated activities—such as bans on buying, solicitation and general organization of sex work. This is based on evidence that these laws often make sex workers less safe and provide impunity for abusers with sex workers often too scared of being penalized to report crime to the police. Laws on sex work should focus on protecting people from exploitation and abuse, rather than trying to ban all sex work and penalize sex workers.”

One approach against the illicit sex industry, called the “Nordic Model,” developed in Norway and practiced by authorities in Canada, combats the entangled issues of human trafficking and consensual sex work — by arresting and penalizing customers and pimps, rather than prostitutes, who receive job and other assistance instead of jail time.

Authorities across the U.S. have employed the Nordic Model — including the head of the initiative. TIME reports,

“Dart only has jurisdiction in Cook County, but he’s encouraging officers from all over the country to try the buyer-focused approach. Some cities, like Seattle, have developed their own versions of this strategy but traded notes with Dart. Others, like Phoenix, Cincinnati and Houston, followed Dart’s lead on demand suppression. More than 70 agencies have participated in at least one of Dart’s operations, with more than 2,900 buyers arrested across all jurisdictions since 2011. […]

“Some human rights groups take issue with this approach. On August 11 [2015], Amnesty International voted to recommend the complete decriminalization of prostitution, both for the buyers and sellers, saying that criminal laws against the consensual adult sex trade violates the human rights of sex workers. While UNAIDS and the World Health Organization have previously called for the decriminalization of sex work for public health reasons (in order to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases), and other groups have advocated the same, Amnesty International is the first major international human rights group to issue a full-throated global public policy recommendation for lifting laws against buying and selling of sex purely on humans rights grounds. Amnesty can’t make or enforce laws, but its recommendations carry international weight.”

Fraught doesn’t begin to describe contention internationally over sex work, human trafficking, child exploitation, and similar issues; but, while heavy-handed operations like the Johns Initiative perform a vital role in rescuing victims who might otherwise have slipped through the cracks or gone unnoticed, human rights advocates maintain the only means to combat sexual, criminal exploitation of youth and adults is to legalize sex work — making regulation, health screenings, insurance, and other benefits available to adults in a voluntary profession — theoretically freeing authorities to target child predators and other offenders.

Theoretically, decriminalization of sex work would play out similarly to that of drugs — a decade-long attempt by Portugal to stem violence, curb prison populations, and rein in an addiction epidemic proved taking punitive drug laws off the books works: the nation achieved all three goals and more. Advocates of legalized sex work posit a similar result, with police free to throw resources at cases of true exploitation and trafficking.

Detractors contend elevating prostitution to acceptable will exacerbate the issue by orders of magnitude, by fueling a parallel black market — similar to reports legal cannabis areas of the U.S. have reinvigorated illicit sales.

Undoubtedly, dragnets targeting prostitution and human trafficking serve victims by connecting them to the appropriate aid and locking true abusers and exploiters away from further criminal activity.

However, it’s imperative to keep in mind corporate media’s penchant for shock and awe to deliver a criminally oversimplified version of exceedingly complex truths — and the National Johns Suppression Initiative has thus far been no exception.

Disingenuously presenting a law enforcement operation as only good cheats the child and adult trafficking victims who could have been rescued — were consensual sex work not a focus of policing at all.

“We realize that decriminalization is not a magic bullet for all of the harms faced by sex workers,” wrote Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA’s interim executive director, in response to a criticism appearing in Rolling Stone of the organization’s advocacy of legal sex work, in June 2016.

Which is why our policy also calls for governments to protect sex workers from harm, exploitation and coercion, and calls for education and employment options for sex workers. Sex workers must also have a say in developing laws that affect their lives and safety. But without decriminalization, they cannot expect equal treatment under the law to achieve these ends.”


This article by Claire Bernish originally appeared on TheFreeThoughtProject.com and is licensed under Creative Commons. Image: Flickr/Charles LeBlanc.

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  • MarkovDeBeeste

    Why is renting your body a crime but selling your soul is perfectly legal?

    • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

      Perhaps because bodies are real?

      • NonYo Business

        Lol. Just can’t help yourself…

        • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

          Nope. What can I say? I’ve been into the sciences since I was 5 years old.

      • M_111

        Nice one!

    • ZombieGirl

      it’s OTHERS renting others bodies…. get it??

      • Freespirit

        As long as BOTH parties are WILLING, why is it your business?

        If one party is NOT willing, that is another matter. IN that case you can put YOUR MONEY where your mouth is. or as in this case “where your typing is”

        YOU will never stop prostitution. You can only drive it underground, where more violations will occur, hidden by the darkness of fear and secrecy.

        • NonYo Business

          Desperation is what makes this possible.

          • Freespirit

            Could you clarify as that could be interpreted 2 ways ?

          • NonYo Business

            It was meant to be. No normal person wakes up and thinks selling themselves is a good idea… No normal person thinks purchasing sex is normal. They do so to desperately find something…. Money or human closeness. “In my opinion”

          • Freespirit

            I agree but what has that got to do with the point I made?

            I was talking about the RIGHTS of BOTH to do as each wishes as long as it is a willing transaction and they are not hurting others

          • NonYo Business

            That’s cool, I’m not saying your wrong.

          • Freespirit

            Gotcha

        • ZombieGirl

          moron…you are probably one who is buying sex since with your brain no one will freely go near you…

          • Freespirit

            Actually no I have NEVER in my life paid for sex, nor would I and presently am married with a beautiful wife and 6 year old son but thanks for showing your hatred and ignorance and NOT understanding the RIGHTS of the individual

            I believe you chose the CORRECT name for yourself-“Zombie Girl”

            Judging from your words, YOU sure are.

          • ZombieGirl

            you sound like a 12 yr old.

          • Freespirit

            There is something seriously wrong with you Or you could be just a TROLL

          • M_111

            Answer: it is illegal.

          • Freespirit

            Legal or Illegal does not affect me philosophically

            It is what is RIGHT or WRONG that matters to me

          • M_111

            Then go to jail for it then, tough guy. Are you a woman? I doubt it. I am. I had a friend who was a prostitute in AK for several years because that’s all she could do up there to support her kid. She hated it. Was she and her customers consenting adults? Yes. Was it illegal? Yes. Was it wrong for men to take advantage of her like that when she was desperate? In my opinion, yes. Just because tbey are both consenting adults never think that the majority of women enjoy it like the men enjoying pawing on a pretty girl. That’s a fantasy. It is demoralizing, it is risky. Do you REALLY think a woman is going to pick sleeping with overweight creeps who are too screwed up to have normal relationships, or on some power trip or objectifies women over an enjoyable well-paid and respectfed career if she had the choice?? Real life isn’t like the movie Pretty Woman.

          • Freespirit

            Thank you for your input, albeit nonsense because you obviously do not understand what I said – possibly a REMEDIAL course in English comprehension might help you

            Take care now

          • M_111

            You still don’t get MY point. It is illegal for a reason.

          • Freespirit

            Oh, I get your point alright – You are a “teensy weensy bit” AUTHORITARIAN and may not even realize it BUT I do !

            I am an ANARCHIST :

            1968 RANDOM HOUSE Dictionary DEFINITION of “ANARCHY” :

            “A THEORY which PROPOSES the Co-operative and Voluntary ASSOCIATION of INDIVIDUALS and Groups as the PRINCIPAL mode of an ORGANIZED SOCIETY”

            THAT was the REAL definition before tyrants, who were so afraid of people discovering/knowing the truth,that teh TRUE meaning of GOVERNMENT is “Mind Control” , that they changed the meaning of Anarchy to that which you probably believe -Violence and Mayhem to frighten back to the “prison” of “feudalism”.

          • M_111

            Nutbar.

          • Freespirit

            Let me add, “INFANTILE” to my assertion of “Authoritarian”

        • ZombieGirl

          hasbara

          • Freespirit

            Nice to see you can create a word but what is the point? Without a complete sentence it is meaningless to me, other than a dictionary definition

    • It’s not renting your soul, it’s selling out your morals for money and selling out your body for money. Both demanded by Corporations.
      Guess what, no more healthcare coverage to be paid by Corporations. The actual people that DO break you.

    • Freespirit

      Because SOUL buyers RULE us :

      What DON’T Jews OWN in America as said by FORMER Jew and now a
      CHRISTIAN, Nathanael Kapner: http://www.realjewnews.com/?p=1214

  • ProudAmerican

    As usual, don’t aim for the machers (big shots).

    Scroll down to “sex slavery”: http://judaism.is/torah-on-women.html

    • ZombieGirl

      the jews are behind all the sex slavery, child trafficking and all other evil going on

      • renee ciccioni

        Christians don’t forget the Christians.

        • ZombieGirl

          the jews are destroying the white race esp the Christians

          • renee ciccioni

            That is complete b.s. , having a pigment recessive gene does not make one a different race and Christians kill one another because Christianity is not nor has ever been a peaceful religion .

          • ProudAmerican

            You are confusing the religion with people who ignore the tenets of the religion.

            That said, nobody has leg up on the tribe’s body count. http://judaism.is/perpetrators.html

          • NonYo Business

            Well said! Keep using that noggin’. Seems like it will serve you well.

          • ZombieGirl

            live long enough and you will see the truth…you obviously choose to remain blind to the jubal destruction of the planet that’s going on right before your eyes….keep living in your delusion. Watch “They Live” and put the sunglasses on.

          • renee ciccioni

            Oh please I know exactly what is going on.

          • ZombieGirl

            then your only excuse is that you’re an A$$HOLE…now go to the corner and put on the dunce cap

          • Freespirit

            Your use of AD HOMINEMS proves to me you are as described in this link : https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=179139

            I shall not waste any more time on you

          • NonYo Business

            nobody knows exactly anything. FYI… not me, not you, not any troll on a website comment section.

          • Freespirit

            A young person does not know what he does not know but thinks he knows it all, and you FIT that category,for sure

            I ma 77 and have been where you cannot even dream

          • WeWa

            You’re badly misinformed. Perhaps you’re thinking of Islam? Now, they’ve killed 800,000,000 since their inception, and still going strong.

          • NonYo Business

            How did Islam kill anyone? Pretty sure you are talking about corrupt Dbags that use religion to mislead the weak minded.

          • ProudAmerican

            Verifiable reference???

          • Freespirit

            Exactly,Renee check my comment to him with enough links to keep his small mind busy for a lifetime 🙂

            I actually believe he is a TROLL

            Keep up the good work

          • renee ciccioni

            Thanks you too.

          • Freespirit

            They are destroying ALL “races”, not just Caucasians :
            We are all PALESTINIANS if we don’t stand together : http://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/06/17/the-goyim-know/ and http://theinternationalforecaster.com/topic/international_forecaster_weekly/india_and_pakistan_friends_at_last

          • ZombieGirl

            no, dummy…why do you think the US and Europe have been flooded with brown, 3rd world people…boy are you a dumbell!

          • Freespirit

            Are you looking in your mirror?

          • ZombieGirl

            Wow, what an A$$HOLE you are!!! You moron, the white countries are being deluged by the the lowest levels of the 3rd world nations…they are not Harvard material. Neither are you. Of COURSE I’m a bigot! Why are all the brown people flocking to the USA & Europe – the WHITE countries? The CIVILIZED countries. The white man built up the civilizations and now the brown people want to live off what the white man made..with help from the Zios because the Zios hate the whites & are destroying them. Don’t waste my energy anymore…you’re too brain dead.

          • Freespirit

            Another Bigot?

        • ZombieGirl

          what about the Christians?

      • ProudAmerican

        Israel among the “10 worst” sex slavery and human trafficking according to the UN
        http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=19974

      • ProudAmerican

        Long list of Jewish Child Molestor Rabbis gets no media coverage and Jewish homosexual pedophiles are undisturbed.
        http://www.iamthewitness.com/listeners/Jewish.child.molesters.that.are.never.on.the.NEWS-WHY.htm

        January 28, 2015, Jewish sex abuse victims pressured not to assist police, secret tapes and emails reveal
        Members of Australia’s Orthodox Jewish community who assist police investigating alleged child sexual abuse by rabbis and others have been pressured to stay silent.
        http://www.theage.com.au/national/jewish-sex-abuse-victims-pressured-not-to-assist-police-secret-tapes-and-emails-reveal-20150127-12zcfa.html

        January 29, 2015, Yeshivah police target declares it OK to kill Jews who report abuse
        Police Investigation Highlights Jewish Law That Forbids a Jew From Informing on Another
        The Age (Australia)
        http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/yeshivah-police-target-declares-it-ok-to-kill-jews-who-report-abuse-20150129-1312vo.html
        A Melbourne man wanted by police for questioning over an alleged sex offence at St Kilda’s Yeshivah [Jewish orthodox education] centre wrote on an internet blog that it is acceptable to kill a Jew who reports another to secular authorities. The man, who Fairfax Media has chosen to not to name, made his comments on an internet blog allegedly associated with prominent figures from Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community … Fairfax Media has confirmed the man, who is a member of one of the St Kilda Yeshivah centre’s leading families and is presently overseas, is wanted for questioning by police in connection to an alleged sexual assault in the 1990s. The man’s extreme views were posted in 2011 and were made as part of a discussion on an ancient Jewish rule known as Mesirah, under which a Jew is forbidden from informing on a fellow Jew.

        August 13, 2015, Child Pornography Produced at a Judaic Youth Camp
        http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/oakland/2015/08/13/west-bloomfield-child-pornography-investigation/31647999/

    • ZombieGirl

      we don’t speak jewish here – this is the USA

      • ProudAmerican

        1. Not anywhere in the world is there such a language as “Jewish.”

        2. This is the internet. It is not a physical geographic location.

        3. “A woman is a sack full of excrement, brimming with niddah* at its opening, yet everyone pursues her!”
        * menstrual blood
        Shabbat 152a http://judaism.is/torah-on-women.html

        • ZombieGirl

          There he goes again with his jewish language

  • Yeah, I think this was more of a bust on independent prostitution businesses than stopping child pornography or pedophilia. While Clintons, Podesta, Epstein, Hastert, Alefantis roam the Earth freely. CPS has over 2mil. children to choose from.

    • renee ciccioni

      Don’t forget Trump and Epstein are besties so don’t forget Trump and other Republicans.

      • I don’t exclude anyone, I have seen Trump on the Epstein guests list once, but I cannot confirm the authenticity of that paper. Might as well be a Democrips forgery, like Osama’s 2 birth certificates.

        • ProudAmerican
          • renee ciccioni

            And Donald Trump.

          • I like James Corbett, his 3 Conspiracy short presentations are killer, but sometimes he is short sighted on some issues, I used to follow his channel.

        • renee ciccioni

          No ,out of Trump’s own mouth ” I have known him for 15 years he’s a great guy ” the fact of the matter nearly all if not all wealthy people feel that they are the exception to all laws and morals.

      • ProudAmerican

        January 22, 2015,
        Flight Logs Put Clinton, Dershowitz on Pedophile Billionaire’s Sex Jet
        by Nick Bryant, Gawker, 1/22/15
        http://gawker.com/flight-logs-put-clinton-dershowitz-on-pedophile-billio-1681039971

      • ProudAmerican

        January 23, 2015, Here Is Pedophile Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book
        by Nick Bryant, Gawker, 1/23/2015

        “Donald Trump, Courtney Love, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and uber-lawyer Alan Dershowitz may have been identified by a butler as potential ‘material witnesses’ to pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes against young girls, according to a copy of Epstein’s little black book obtained by Gawker.”
        http://gawker.com/here-is-pedophile-billionaire-jeffrey-epsteins-little-b-1681383992

        http://judaism.is/images/epstein-s%20little%20black%20book.jpg?crc=4162370104

        • renee ciccioni

          Thank you for that , they said that British royalty and religious leaders from many denominations as well.

      • Who can forget really Traitor Song Bird McCain ? He’s done so much evil.

      • In all honesty, I put no trust or credibility in the rich or middle man mafia (government), it makes sense there are no arrests in the high ranks, they are all handpicked and selected as well as dirt filled for insurance.

        • renee ciccioni

          Agree

  • el Gallinazo

    Same old, same old. Been going on for literally a 100 years. Much sound and fury signifying nothing. In my opinion this is just a diversion from anything real being done to crash the satanic child sex trafficking and sacrificing rings which are centered in the 0.001% as the clientele. Keep your eyes wide shut. When is Mr. Pizza going to be indicted? A man who thinks “password” is a secure password. A cub scout could probably build an air tight case against him.

    • ZombieGirl

      but he’s with those “officials” in charge….remember? Pizzaman IS an OFFICIAL…

  • Rebel w/out a Cause

    Most of you will consider me backward or whatever, but here’s an alternate view of our world.

    I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. As I was growing up, adultery, fornication, lying, cheating, abortion, gay/lesbianism, etc. were all sins. Most everyone agreed with that. There were obviously some exceptions.

    Now all of these things are “human rights”. But stepping back and looking, is our world better now for all of these “progressive” gains?

    (NaturalNews) Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to a CDC report that was just released (1). Nearly a third of Americans use two or more drugs, and more than one in ten use five or more prescription drugs regularly. The report also revealed that one in five children are being regularly given prescription drugs….

    Think about it. This has pretty much happened in about a generation-and-a-half.

  • ReverendDraco✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵃᶜᶜᵒᵘᶰᵗ

    I find it interesting that directly renting yourself out for cash is a “crime,” but laundering the payment through a bartender or restauranteur is perfectly legal.

    Paying a chick $50 for sex is a crime; buying her $50 of drinks and dinner is hunky dory.

    • Phil_Ossifer

      Yep…kind of like the old joke, “You’re not paying for sex! The sex is free, you’re just buying me groceries!” Or, “I’m selling condoms for $50 each which includes a practical demonstration!” Same logic that calls mandatory health insurance a “tax,” Social Security tax a “contribution” and income taxes as “voluntary.”

  • Freespirit

    It is IRONIC, when we dig deeper, that we discover the MOTIVATING force behind these types of arrests are many Evangelical Christians, the same people who SUPPORT Israel and its slaughter and destruction of Palestinian women and children and their homes – American Jewish and Christian HYPOCRISY at its finest.

    I agree with writer for REASON magazine – Elizabeth Nolan Brown

  • NonYo Business

    I am sure that the leaders of this practice all avoided consequences of their actions. Can’t be inconvenienced with jail and public shaming.

  • Milly Vanilly

    I seemed to have missed the LONG list of Politicians, judges & lawyers that are the big USERS, RESPONSIBLE & complicit for these crimes……Oh, that’s right, throw the SHEEP in the way for protection.

  • banjerstring

    In his video, “Illuminati, Reptilians & The Manipulation of Reality” David Icke, says Bush Sr is a pedo along with many, many other ‘higher ups’ in world governance.

    Does this infer the possibility of this publicized, dragnet operation’s(ref this article) purpose to distract from some long-running, horrid reality?

  • trid2bnrml

    Navy Seal has Assets Seized for Trying to Expose Elite Pedophile Ring
    https://youtu.be/EuebuG9E3Uc

    • Freespirit

      When are Americans going to rise up like in 1776. Your own “Governments” now are worse than the British were !

  • SP_88

    The Johns Initiative is nothing more than an entrapment scam to pad the number of arrests they make. They get a female cop to dress up like a hooker and solicit sex from people driving by. And when the alleged john makes the sex for money deal, a bunch of cops roll up and bust him. It’s entrapment, which is illegal.
    And furthermore, it does nothing about the actual prostitutes and their situation. In fact, it’s more likely to drive them into more dangerous situations out of fear of being arrested and going to jail.
    It’s just one more half baked idea that does more harm than good. The government is good at it.