Cook County, IL–(ENEWSPF)– A Minnesota man will appear in bond court today and his wife and young child are being kept in a safe location after a Cook County Sheriff’s investigation found the man was sending his wife across the country and ordering her to have sex with men in encounters he was setting up online, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced Wednesday.
Clinton Danner, 32, of Rockford, Minn., is charged with pandering, a felony. He was arrested in downtown Chicago on Sunday night, as he arrived to pick up his wife from the hotel where he made her stay for the weekend. Though he had originally planned for her to fly home Monday, he told her in a phone call that he was very disappointed in the amount of money she had collected during the weekend and was personally driving up to get her so he could express that disappointment.
Sheriff Dart was notified of the woman’s situation on Thursday night. The victim, told by Danner that she would have to spend the weekend in Chicago having sex with strangers, told investigators she had tired of being threatened and being moved across state lines for sex acts and secretly reached out to the Polaris Project’s national trafficking hotline for help.
Officials there immediately reached out to the Cook County Sheriff’s Department of Women’s Justice Services, which has been providing gender-specific services for the last 10 years. Among the staff are three former prostitutes, who provide on-site intervention at vice operations and also work with incarcerated women to move beyond that lifestyle.
The victim was initially apprehensive about working with DWJS staff and spent the weekend carrying out some of her husband’s orders. But during that time, she agreed to work with DWJS.
The victim indicated said Danner regularly threatened he would take the child away from her or harm the child if she did not comply with his demands that she prostitute herself on his behalf. As part of his efforts, Danner never allowed the woman to be left alone with the child.
She told investigators she had been trafficked to eight states, as her husband would regularly post ads on craigslist, promoting her for sex. Danner would arrange the encounters, then demand that the victim immediately deposit all proceeds into his bank account. She said she had tried leaving him before, but was unsuccessful.
Danner had been in contact with the victim all weekend, setting up appointments on her behalf, but she told him she wasn’t doing some of them because she was sick. That led Danner to drive to Chicago, where he planned to confront her about the amount of money she had collected for him.
Cook County Sheriff’s Police began following Danner as he left Florida, where he had forced his wife to work last week, and as he drove to Chicago. When he arrived at the woman’s downtown hotel around 10 p.m. Sunday, he was arrested and the child he brought with him was turned over to the victim. Both the victim and child were placed in safe housing.
Danner will appear in bond court this afternoon. DWJS staff is currently working with the victim to ensure she and her child are able to access to the appropriate services. Sheriff’s investigators continue to investigate the case with State’s Attorney’s Office.
Sheriff Dart, who filed a federal lawsuit against craigslist last year because he said they were knowingly allowing human trafficking to exist on their website, plans to notify the website owners of this latest arrest. That lawsuit was dismissed last year, but not before craigslist vowed to hire monitors to review every ad for illegal content before it is posted on their website.
Sheriff Dart thanked officials with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Polaris Project, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitations and the Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task Force on Human Trafficking for their efforts in this investigation.