I have never understood how sting operations can be legal in any situation, but when police use them in prostitution contexts they generally pose as clients, with the aim of catching sex workers. In the story below they posed as prostitutes in order to entrap clients. This is justified by referring to vile behaviour, an antiquated phrase for the 21st century. And given so many other, more dangerous urban problems, investing money and time into catching men who buy sex seems silly. [Note: the photo is from a different story, the recent Chinese one that had police parading women prostitutes through the streets. Some people asked why their clients were not subjected to similar shaming; as this picture shows, to some extent they were.]
Another question to consider about this story: How will the 2-year-old be damaged, exactly?
Lenore T. Adkins, 8 August 2010, Daily Herald (suburban Chicago)
Eleven men were arrested Friday night in Elgin during a reverse prostitution sting staged by police officers in the city’s downtown. As part of the three-hour undercover operation in the National Street area, several Elgin officers posed as prostitutes. The men approached them, offering $20 for sex, said Lt. Glenn Theriault.
According to police, one of the men had his 2-year-old son with him. The child’s mother picked the boy up from the police station on Friday night. And officers contacted the Illinois Department of Children of Family Services. “When people think this type of crime is a victimless crime, tell that to the 2-year-old or the mother of the 2-year-old,” Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said.
All 11 alleged offenders were arrested under a local ordinance for soliciting a prostitute, which carries a minimum fine of $1,000. They are [follows a list of names and addresses] . . .
The following men were arrested under the local ordinance and for additional charges [follows another list] . . .
Out of the 11 men arrested on Friday night, 10 had motor vehicles and must pay $1,000 to retrieve them under a separate ordinance, Theriault said. Everyone will have their case heard Aug. 14 before a hearing officer at the Elgin branch court.
“This is certainly a huge number of suspects for such a short period of time and clearly tells me that we’ll be back there again soon,” Theriault said. With Friday’s sting and others like it, Elgin police intend to send the message they will not tolerate this sort of activity in town. They are also determined to reduce the crimes it creates.
“This type of vile behavior is simply unacceptable,” Theriault said. “It’s unfortunate that for such an incredibly vibrant downtown, these incidents that occur in one isolated corner … paint the entire area with the same brush.”
The police department’s patrol, gang, drug and technical investigation units conducted the probe, which marked the second such sting of the summer. Elgin police ran a similar crackdown in July that officers cut short due to the rain and that resulted in one arrest, Theriault said.