Aug. 4 (UPI) -- More than 1,000 people were arrested in a monthlong nationwide sex trafficking initiative -- netting suspects in more than a dozen states, authorities said.
Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, the leader of a police operation known as the National Johns Suppression Initiative, said 37 law enforcement agencies in 17 states identified 81 people in the sex trafficking trade and arrested at least 1,020 suspected solicitors.
Fifteen people face sex-trafficking charges, Dart said.
During the sting operation between June 28 and July 31, authorities said three brothels in Illinois were closed and a convicted child molester was arrested in Seattle. Harris County, Texas, saw 170 arrests, Seattle recorded 160 and Chicago 140, officials noted.
Authorities added that nearly 500 prospective sex buyers were deterred by texts, calls and webpage re-directs to inform buyers of the illegal sex industry's harmful impact.
Minimum possible fines total more than $1.5 million, a statement from the Cook County Sheriff's Office said.
The operation was the initiative's 14th since it was established in 2011. The operations have so far led to the arrests of nearly 8,000 people.