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


CHICAGO (CBS) — Sex trafficking is an advanced downside that for a lot of causes is tough for regulation enforcement to deal with and implement.

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

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



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

“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 inquiries to which police need solutions, Hannigan defined.

The people who find themselves pulled over do discuss 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 informed Donlon the Sheriff’s police had been watching the Bridgeport brothel for 2 and a half weeks. The subsequent step was to close it down.

Joining a raid for the primary 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 private. She is on the help facet of the staff – stepping in to supply companies to the ladies 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 ladies being trafficked often can not simply stroll away from the state of affairs.

“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 had been concerned within the raid. An undercover officer went in first – to finalize an earlier on-line transaction in individual.



The undercover officer was in a position 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 truly grow to be a difficulty on this case.

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



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

The girl didn’t converse English, so the officer spelled it out – utilizing her cellphone 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 staff 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 workplace stated it wanted extra data earlier than bringing fees. 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 had been charged.

Of these 18, six had been convicted of selling prostitution, three are nonetheless awaiting trial, and 9 – or half of all of them – had fees 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 supplied help to the 2 ladies contained in the brothel.

Neither of the ladies will face fees, and each had been in a position to depart for his or her dwelling states.

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

The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation want to see extra of the identical efforts from the Chicago Police Department. CAASE has trafficked prostitution-related arrests over time, and one research discovered that in 2017, 90.9 p.c of arrests by Chicago Police had been for “selling” offenses – in different phrases, the ladies.

Only 8.2 p.c of arrests by Chicago Police had been for purchasing or soliciting, whereas 0.5 p.c had been for different associated offenses.

The county is attempting to deal with that. It created a victims’ help companies unit final yr, and has already helped 136 victims acquire companies and help.

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

Dukes informed her, “We beg to differ.”

Meanwhile, the very fact is everybody on the main points is aware of the work continues.


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