On Thursday, officers set up meetings at a hotel in Northwest Cook County between the buyers who arranged meetings over the internet and an officer posing as a person selling sex, authorities said.
SVU members then took the individual into custody after the buyer agreed to exchange money for sex.
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All 21 men were issued a $1,000 citation, and 17 vehicles were towed, requiring the vehicle owner to pay $500 to reclaim possession.
"Sex trafficking leaves a trail of trauma in its wake," Sheriff Dart said. "Too many victims, most of whom are women, experience violence and abuse, and we are committed to pursuing those who perpetuate this trauma by seeking to purchase sex."