522 'johns' and 'pimps' arrested in Super Bowl sex trafficking sting
During Super Bowl weekend 522 would-be sex buyers or sex traffickers were arrested across the United States.
The arrests follow a massive sting operation involving 23 law enforcement agencies in 14 states taking part in the National Johns Suppression Initiative. The program started three weeks ago and culminated on Super Bowl Sunday.
"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," said Illinois Sheriff Thomas J. Dart in a press release.
"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."
Police also rescued 73 adult human trafficking victims and 3 juvenile vitcims.
In Houston, where the Super Bowl LI was hosted this year, 183 "johns," or potential buyers, and 9 sex traffickers were arrested. Two firefighters, a retired police officer, and a Houston city employee were among those taken into custody.
One man who was arrested had his 4-year-old child with him while he tried to purchase sex.
"I'm exceedingly proud to lead the nation in targeting sex buyers and traffickers during this annual initiative," Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said during a press conference.
"Houston was home to Super Bowl LI. As we welcomed the world to our city, we made it clear that there is no place for victimization and sexual exploitation."
Estimates suggest there are more than 20 million human trafficking victims worldwide.