More than 1,000 arrests in sex trafficking operation
A pastor, a state trooper and a convicted sex offender were among 1,000 people arrested in a monthlong period trying to sell or buy sex across the country.
The arrests were part of the National Johns Suppression Initiative, a series of stings aimed at reducing sex trafficking in the United States.
During the sting operation from June 28 until Monday, authorities cracked down on three Illinois brothels and arrested a convicted child molester in Seattle.
The most arrests were in Harris County, Texas, and in Seattle, with 170 and 160 arrests, respectively.
Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, the driving force behind the operation, said 37 law enforcement agencies across 17 states rescued 81 adult and juvenile victims. At least 1,020 sex buyers were arrested, and 15 people face trafficking-related charges, he said.
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.
The National Johns Suppression Initiative operations have led to the arrests of nearly 8,000 sex buyers since 2011, Dart said.