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SHERIFF’S POLICE ARREST
JUVENILE ON CRAIGSLIST

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Thursday, August 27, 2009 — Three months after the website craigslist vowed to banish postings forhuman trafficking and other sex-related ads on its popular website, officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Police vice unit arrested a
16-year-old girl who was being pimped out for sex on the site.
Adults running a suspected prostitution operation had been posting ads
promoting the girl for days, including a picture that was not of the
girl, but appeared to be of an older woman, according to Cook County
Sheriff Thomas J. Dart.

Late Tuesday, undercover officers responded to the ad, which promised
the girl was “the best in town” and promised the girl “loves to please,”
while promising men “satisfaction” as well as the “time of your life.”
The person answering the phone number listed on the ad instructed the
officer to meet the girl at a Cicero motel. In a room there, the
16-year-old girl was waiting and told the officer he could have sex with
her for $150. That’s when the girl was arrested, charged as a juvenile.
Records show she was arrested on the same charge just three weeks ago by
Chicago police.

The girl was released to her family after her arrest and she will appear
in juvenile court on prostitution charges. Sheriff’s police continue to
investigate the prostitution ring, while the sheriff’s Department of
Women’s Justice Services will attempt to link the girl to appropriate
social services and assistance.
So far this year, sheriff’s vice officers have arrested 75 people on
prostitution-related charges off craigslist ads. The officers have
arrested about one person a week since craigslist’s promised changes. So
far this year, vice officers have made 190 total prostitution-related
arrests.

In March, Dart filed a federal lawsuit against craigslist, accusing it
of being the largest source of prostitution in America. In the civil
complaint, he accused its operators of knowingly facilitating a crime
and contributing to a public nuisance. Dart demanded the website
eliminate its “Erotic Services” section and do more to prevent human
trafficking, juvenile pimping and other sex crimes from being promoted
on its website.

Craigslist initially balked at making any changes, insisting that its
website was not a host for illegal activity. But on the day its owners
were to appear in court on Dart’s suit, they agreed to eliminate “Erotic
Services” and replace it with “Adult Services” while also hiring
monitors to better police its website and prohibit sex ads from the
site.

But Dart refused to drop his lawsuit when craigslist declined to
describe its new policing system and when it became clear the site had
changed little from its former set-up. Additionally, while craigslist
once donated proceeds from all “Erotic Services” advertising to charity,
it has instead opted to now pocket those proceeds.
The sheriff’s department, represented pro bono by the Chicago-based law
firm Querrey & Harrow, continues to pursue its claims against
craigslist.

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