Accountability of Violators
RAASE partners with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Tactical Unit and the Rockford Police Department. Sexually exploited individuals should be treated with respect and offered an opportunity for help and services. The focus is on arresting the violators which create demand for forced prostitution and sex trafficking. Violaters include "johns" or purchasers of sex and the traffickers, known as pimps, recruiters, handlers, brothel and massage parlor owners and managers.
In 2015, important strategies were implemented toward moving Winnebago County to become an End Demand community:
- The City of Rockford passed an ordinance allowing for the impoundment of a vehicle used in the commission of the offense of solicitation of a sexual act. Ordinance 2015-002-O authorizes police to impound the vehicle and impose towing and storage fees, as well as a fine of up to $750.00. All fines and fees must be paid prior to the release of the vehicle. The imposition of fees does not require a conviction of a crime, but instead will be imposed when an officer has probable cause to believe a crime occurred. All fines paid as a result of these impounds are made available to non-for profit agencies to receive and utilize in the restoration of victims and survivors of human trafficking. In the summer of 2015, RAASE was the first organization to be awarded these grant funds.
- Local law enforcement began implementing End Demand Strategies of targeting johns and pimps during criminal investigations, resulting in the arrests and prosecutions of traffickers and purchasers of sex.
- The names and photographs of those arrested for solicitation and trafficking related charges are made available to local media and are routinely published in print, social media and by local television stations.
- The Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office has implemented a policy imposing additional fines for those adjudicated guilty of the crime of solicitation of a sexual act. A portion of the fine is paid directly by the convicted individual to a non-for profit agency specializing in the restoration of human trafficking survivors.
- RAASE continues to collaborate with local partners to develop new tactics and strategies to target purchasers and traffickers in Winnebago County, and we look forward to monitoring the rise in numbers of arrests and prosecutions of those individuals.
Our friends at CAASE (Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation) have worked to pass six pieces of legislation over the last six years.
Read about them here.