Sex Work

Police Increasingly See All Prostitution as 'Human Trafficking'

Very little belief that it could be consensual

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CICERO, Ill. — Cops in the Chicago area call it a "track," a stretch of street known for its steady sex trade.

Women in tight, scant clothing stand in high heels on street corners along an industrial strip in suburban Cicero. Customers, usually men, slow their cars and roll down a window.

"How much?" they ask.

Some might see these interludes as exchanges between consenting adults, or at the very least, consenting criminals, if the prostitute is, indeed, an adult and seemingly free to come and go as she pleases. They may call it a victimless crime, seeing domestic prostitution as something very different from human sex trafficking — with its cross-border abductions and brutal coercion — a scourge that's come to the forefront of news in recent years.

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