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Nearly 600 johns arrested in nationwide sting operation

As the New England Patriots celebrated their Super Bowl win, law enforcement officials around the country rang in a different kind of victory.
Nearly 600 people were arrested in a nationwide prostitution sting, known as the "National Day of Johns Arrests," that ended Super Bowl Sunday, according to authorities.

The 570 men were arrested after responding to fake illicit ads on sites such as and Craigslist over two weeks, the Cook County, Ill., Sheriff's Office said.

The operation also netted 23 pimps or traffickers who have forced victims into lives of prostitution, the office said.

Just outside the Arizona Super Bowl stadium, Phoenix police arrested 22 would-be johns and several women who said they'd been trafficked to the area before the big game.

Related article: Miami Gardens police chief arrested and fired in prostitution sting

"Sex trafficking continues to destroy countless lives, and this broad national movement should send a strong message to prospective johns that their 'hobby' is much more than a 'victimless' crime," Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said in a statement. "It's particularly meaningful that this sting culminated on the day of the Super Bowl, which unfortunately has emerged as a prominent haven for sex trafficking."

The big game, like many major events, brings in people with disposable income and creates an "uptick in prostitution and trafficking," Phoenix Police Sgt. Chris Bray told the Arizona Republic.

Hall of Fame lineman Warren Sapp's arrest in Phoenix after the Super Bowl was unrelated to the sting, the Cook County Sheriff said.

The 17-state campaign took advantage of the Web and classified ad sites such — which are heavily used in the sex trade — to nab suspects, Dart said.

Related article: (How to) avoid undercover pigs (in escort stings)

"It used to be we'd stake out corners, make arrests there, get license plates (of pimps) so we could track them," Dart told The Associated Press Tuesday. "But now with the Internet, they can set up dates with computers at different sites, transfer money, use cash cards and aliases, so it is much harder to connect the woman to the guy she's working for."

In 2009, Dart sued Craigslist, alleging the site was the "largest source of prostitution in America." A judge threw out the lawsuit, but the site promised to monitor future adult ads and lose its erotic services section.

This year's operation, the ninth of its kind, was the largest one since Dart launched it four years ago, bringing the total over the years to 2,900 johns caught, he said.

Related: Underground America is back online. How to beat the police, CPS, DEA, FBI, IRS and NSA. How to beat any drug test, police sting and how to beat your court case and more.
The sting — with the aid of 37 law enforcement agencies from California to Massachusetts — ran from Jan. 15 to Feb. 1. Texas, with 162 arrests, had the most johns.

The sweep also yielded charges of pimping, rape, kidnapping, drug trafficking and possession of illegal firearms, Dart said.

Johns paid more than $340,000 in fines. Police seized 18 weapons during arrests and towed 221 vehicles.

From GS: The government shouldn't be locking up consenting adults for choosing to engage in consensual behavior. Along as prostitution is completely illegal, the harms of it will greatly outweigh it being legalized. Brothels in Nevada that are legal don't have STD cases or underage girls. Or battered women. Legalize it and get the sex cops out of people's lives.

Stop trying to justify your grossly over bloated budgets.

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