Inside a brothel raid with the Cook County Sheriff’s police, and their efforts to help sex trafficking victims

CHICAGO (CBS) — Sex trafficking is a sophisticated downside that for a lot of causes is troublesome for legislation enforcement to handle and implement.

But as CBS 2’s Joe Donlon discovered as he rode alongside for a sting operation earlier this summer time, these challenges should not stopping efforts to struggle trafficking. The Cook County Sheriff’s office is even utilizing survivors to intervene.

We have been behind Cook County Sheriff’s police as they pulled over a driver. It seemed like a typical visitors cease, but it surely was not for a visitors violation.



Rather, the driver had simply left a brothel in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, and sheriff’s cops had been watching. What Sgt. Timothy Hannigan and his group actually needed was info.

“How to get in; what do you got to do when you get in? Who do you pay? What do you got to pay? Is there any secret word? Is there a secret text message you’ve got to send to get in there?” are the questions to which police need solutions, Hannigan defined.

The people who find themselves pulled over do speak to officers – and inform them every thing, Hannigan stated.

“Usually, they’re nervous, and then, they don’t want to get caught up with their wife,” Hannigan stated. “So we talk to them. We just ask them if they’ll cooperate with us, and they do.”

Hannigan instructed Donlon the Sheriff’s police had been watching the Bridgeport brothel for 2 and a half weeks. The subsequent step was to shut it down.

Joining a raid for the first time, was Pamela Nicole Dukes. She joined the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Special Victims Unit in January.



Donlon: “What is it about this that drew you to this job?”

Dukes: “There are a number of things that drew me to this job. Again, I keep no secrets. I am a survivor – domestic violence, human trafficking – and that kind of made me say yes to the job.”

For Dukes, it is personal. She is on the assist facet of the group – stepping in to supply providers to the girls being trafficked, or principally, to rescue them.

“So like, they don’t have passports – their passports have been taken away – or they’re being threatened in some way, shape, form, or another,” she stated.

Dukes defined that the girls being trafficked normally can’t simply stroll away from the scenario.

“Most times, no,” she stated, “because there’s something tied to their liability or the liability of the people they love.”

More than a dozen officers have been concerned in the raid. An undercover officer went in first – to finalize an earlier on-line transaction in particular person.



The undercover officer was ready to get in with out ringing the doorbell.

Donlon: “Why do you have to wait for him to make the deal? Hasn’t the deal already been made online?”

Hannigan: “You don’t know who’s behind that message.”

That will really change into a problem on this case.

Right afterward, the officers went in – asserting themselves as police and ordering everybody to come out. Two individuals ran out the again door to get away, however officers have been prepared and ready.



Meantime inside, there have been two girls. One began to cry as an officer talked with her – explaining to her that she was not in bother.

The girl didn’t communicate English, so the officer spelled it out – utilizing her telephone to translate.



Overall, sheriff’s police thought the operation went very properly.

“As soon as we opened the door – there was a side door that I had officers over on standby. So as soon as we opened the door, the male and the female – the doorman and one of the females – took off,” Hannigan stated.

The group took 4 individuals in for questioning. But what appeared like a textbook case took a twist weeks later.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office stated it wanted extra info earlier than bringing prices. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart couldn’t perceive it.

Dart: “This is one – as a former prosecutor I can just tell you – I’m befuddled we didn’t get charges.”

Donlon: “That’s the basic question – how do you take a brothel down and no one gets prosecuted?”

Dart: “I don’t have any explanation whatsoever. The explanations I’ve been given so far – none of them make any sense.”

Since 2017, the county says its vice unit has taken down 15 brothels. A complete of 18 individuals have been charged.

Of these 18, six have been convicted of selling prostitution, three are nonetheless awaiting trial, and 9 – or half of all of them – had prices dismissed.

“This case – everything was there. There’s no like, ‘Well, we’re missing this or this.’ No, we have real victims. We have people we took into custody at the scene. We have people who are identifying them and their roles involved with this,” Dart stated. “So there’s no missing element in this.”

Meanwhile, with the raid over, the work started for Dukes. She provided assist to the two girls inside the brothel.

Neither of the girls will face prices, and each have been ready to go away for their house states.

It is an instance of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s focus with trafficking and the sex commerce – serving to the girls get out.

The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation would love to see extra of the similar efforts from the Chicago Police Department. CAASE has trafficked prostitution-related arrests over time, and one research discovered that in 2017, 90.9 % of arrests by Chicago Police have been for “selling” offenses – in different phrases, the girls.

Only 8.2 % of arrests by Chicago Police have been for purchasing or soliciting, whereas 0.5 % have been for different associated offenses.

The county is attempting to handle that. It created a victims’ assist providers unit final year, and has already helped 136 victims get hold of providers and assist.

“And that’s so heartening to us,” Dart stated. “Yeah, sure, it’s not this macro thing where we’ve ended it all – no – but we have these little success stories that keep reminding us why we do this.”

“I don’t think that when we take this down, it’s the end of it at all,” Dukes added. “The work continues.”

Dukes instructed us one sufferer stated, “No one out here is worrying or cares about me.”

Dukes instructed her, “We beg to differ.”

Meanwhile, the reality is everybody on the particulars is aware of the work continues.

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