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Watch: This is How a Police Prostitution Sting Works

Since 2009, Cook County, IL has been cracking down on sex buyers and adding social services for prostituted women. Now, they're coaching law enforcement from around the country to take this new approach: target sex buyers as a way to reduce demand for prostitution.

On a stretch of road near Chicago’s O’Hare airport where prostitutes are known to gather, a female undercover officer stands on the corner in full view of a fellow officer, Officer Dan. He’s responsible for watching her every move. (The officer's names have been changed to protect their identities and their safety.)

When a car pulls up to her, Officer Dan radios the make and model to his fellow officers waiting in an arrest car. As soon as she makes a deal for sex, usually only a few seconds after the car pulls up, the female officer makes a special gesture and moves away from the car. That’s when Officer Dan radios the order:“it’s a go.”

The john is arrested within seconds, and taken to a holding area. He’ll get an ordinance violation, which is at least a $500 fine, and in many cases their car will be towed, which is another $500, plus a towing fee that’s usually between $200-300. This won’t result in a criminal record, nor will they serve any jail time, unless there’s an open warrant for their arrest on a different charge.

MORE Read TIME's special report on how one Illinois county is trying a new tactic to curb prostitution and see more videos here.

Mary Cybulski—Paramount

The Wolf of Wall Street

This saga of white-collar crime is slightly less violent than other true-crime films, but no less debauched. Based on Jordan Belfort’s memoir of the same title, we follow the stockbroker along his meteoric rise as he cons his way to making millions of dollars through illegal trades, eventually culminating in an unraveling personal life and criminal charges. A surprising number of the movie’s hijinks are factual, according to the memoir.

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Newmarket Films

Monster

The biopic follows Aileen Wuornos (played by Charlize Theron), a prostitute who kills a series of johns, claiming each one was trying to rape her. She confesses when it seems like her lover, Tyria Moore (Christina Ricci) might be implicated in the crimes. Wuornos was executed in 2002.

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Universal Pictures

American Gangster

The Denzel Washington vehicle depicts Frank Lucas as a criminal mastermind, running a massive Harlem crime ring funded by his drug business. In real life, Lucas did indeed make a major profit on heroin imported from Southeast Asia, cutting out the middlemen, but he denies ever having stashed it inside the caskets of American casualties being shipped home from the Vietnam War. The movie makes Lucas out to be a major informer on crooked cops and fellow drug dealers when he’s caught; the real Lucas has denied this.

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Archive Photos/Getty Images

Goodfellas

The Scorcese classic leaves out a few moments from Henry Hill’s life, but the New York gangster (played by Ray Liotta) really was in the Lucchese crime family. As in the movie, he was part of the Air France robbery and the cover-up of the murder of Billy Batts. He did indeed enroll in the Witness Protection Program with his family, but was kicked out after a few years for committing crimes. He died in 2012.

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Universal Pictures

The Black Dahlia

The movie takes as its starting point the still-unsolved 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, whose naked corpse was discovered cut in half in a lot in L.A. But from there, it departs from the facts greatly, diverging into sordid, murderous plots affecting the police officers investigating the case and the women in their lives.

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A24

The Bling Ring

A group of teens and young adults get their kicks robbing celebrities, breaking into their homes and taking their pick of jewelry, clothing, cash and more. The criminals’ names were changed for the Sofia Coppola film, but several of the real rich victims appear—Paris Hilton, for instance, even agreed to let scenes be filmed in her home.

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Paramount

Zodiac

The Zodiac Killer case remains unsolved, but this David Fincher movie focuses more on the investigators than the criminal. Police detectives and reporters try to unscramble clues from a killer who sends ciphers with hints about his murders in northern California in the late 1960s and early 70s. The case consumes one journalist (Robert Graysmith, the author of the book the film is based on) to the point that he loses his job and his wife.

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Sony Picture Classics

Foxcatcher

The Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo movie dramatizes the relationship between John du Pont and two wrestlers who trained and lived on his facilities at Foxcatcher. He eventually shoots one of the brothers dead. In real life, du Pont was indeed convicted of the murder, but the details of his relationship with the Schultz brothers differ: for instance, the two never lived on the estate at the same time.

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Francois Duhamel—Columbia Pictures

American Hustle

The names and some details may be different, but general arc of the David O. Russell con movie is fairly true to the events of the Abscam operation. The FBI really did use a swindler (Mel Weinberg in real life) to bust politicians taking bribes, and they really did pose a man as a fake Arab sheikh to catch them in the act of accepting his money.

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Lions Gate Films

Bully

A group of teenagers plots vengeance on a friend and bully who has raped two of them. They bring their target, Bobby, to a swamp where several members of the group participate in his violent killing. In real life, all seven of Bobby Kent's killers were prosecuted and received varying sentences.

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Deana Newcomb—Millennium Entertainment

Bernie

Jack Black plays Bernie Tiede, a charming, do-gooder funeral director in Carthage, Texas, who befriends a much-older millionaire widow, Marjorie Nugent. Their relationship grows strained, and he shoots her and hides her body in the freezer. The film sticks fairly close to the facts—including the townspeople's continuing support for Bernie even after he confessed. After the movie came out, the real-life Tiede was released after 17 years in prison based on evidence that he'd been abused as a child and his outburst was tied to Nugent's controlling relationship with him. The court ordered Tiede to reside in the garage apartment of the filmmaker, Richard Linklater, on his release.

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New Line

Alpha Dog

The names were changed for this Nick Cassavetes movie, but the story follows the same arc: Johnny Truelove (whose real-life name is just as ridiculous: Jesse James Hollywood) is an L.A. drug dealer who exerts major influence on his debtors. When Jake Mazursky (in real life, Benjamin Markowitz) can’t pay back the money he owes, Truelove and his associates kidnap Jake’s half brother, Zack (really Nicholas). He enjoys his time in captivity, however, and makes no effort to escape. But fearing that they can’t set him free without going to jail, several of Truelove’s cronies take Zack into the woods where he’s shot and buried in a shallow grave.

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IFC Films

Blue Caprice

The film documents the relationship between teenager Lee Boyd Malvo and his farther figure, John Allen Muhammad, who terrorized the Washington, D.C. area in a weeks-long shooting spree that killed 10 and wounded others in the Beltway sniper attacks of 2002. They trained their rifle on random civilians through the back window of a blue Chevrolet Caprice. Malvo is serving several consecutive life sentences; Muhammad was executed in 2009.

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Vertigo Films

Bronson

This biopic tells the story of Charles Bronson (né Michael Gordon Peterson), a British criminal who is constantly getting into brutal fights, in prison and out, with guards and inmates. He’s been moved to dozens of prisons for bad behavior and spent much of his time in solitary confinement; the net effect is that he's often called Britain’s most dangerous criminal.

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DreamWorks

Catch Me If You Can

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Frank Abagnale, a young con man who was able to make millions forging checks while posing as a pilot, doctor and lawyer. An FBI agent (played by Tom Hanks) pursues him until he’s captured. In the movie and in real life, Abagnale eventually becomes an FBI adviser, helping prevent exactly the kind of fraud he committed.

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Colombia Pictures

In Cold Blood

The film inspired by Truman Capote’s “non-fiction novel” tells the story of two outlaws, Richard Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, who murdered the Clutter family in their home in a quiet Kansas town in 1959. Both were hanged in 1965.

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Black Mass
Warner Bros. Pictures

Black Mass

Based on the 2001 book of the same name, this movie sticks close to the facts of Irish-American mobster James "Whitey" Bulger (played by Johnny Depp) as he becomes an informant for the FBI during the 1970s. As in the film, the leader of Boston's Winter Hill Gang used the protection granted by his status to cover the organized crime ring he continued to spearhead before going into hiding for 16 years. Now 86, he is three years into serving two consecutive life terms.

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The Iceman
Millennium Entertainment

The Iceman

Michael Shannon plays the notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski, who was convicted of murdering five—though he later claimed to have killed more than 100 men—after decades of keeping his job as a contract killer a secret from his wife (played by Winona Ryder) and two daughters. The film alludes to Kuklinski's abusive childhood, at the hands of both parents, and chronicles how his increasing sloppiness led to his eventual capture in 1986. He died in prison in 2006, at the age of 70.

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Photographer as Witness: A Portrait of Domestic Violence

At 31, Shane had spent much of his life incarcerated. His facial tattoos, along with his criminal record, made finding steady work extremely difficult, and work that paid a living wage nearly impossible. After his last stint in prison, Shane was determined to turn over a new leaf and create a better life for himself. That life, as he saw it, would have to include Maggie, a woman 11 years his junior who was his sister's neighbor.
The following photographs were taken between Sept. 2012 and Dec. 2012. At 31, Shane had spent much of his life incarcerated. His facial tattoos, along with his criminal record, made finding steady work extremely difficult, and work that paid a living wage nearly impossible. After his last stint in prison, Shane was determined to turn over a new leaf and create a better life for himself. That life, as he saw it, would have to include Maggie, a woman 11 years his junior who was his sister's neighbor.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz
At 31, Shane had spent much of his life incarcerated. His facial tattoos, along with his criminal record, made finding steady work extremely difficult, and work that paid a living wage nearly impossible. After his last stint in prison, Shane was determined to turn over a new leaf and create a better life for himself. That life, as he saw it, would have to include Maggie, a woman 11 years his junior who was his sister's neighbor.
Maggie and Shane's courtship was brief but intense. Shane called her every day from prison, and upon his release, they began to date.
Maggie had two children, Memphis, age 2, and Kayden, age 4. Maggie had separated from their father several months prior to beginning her relationship with Shane.
One month into their courtship, Shane had Maggie's name tattooed on his neck in large black letters.
Shane had been trying to make a career as a singer in a Christian rock band while providing for Maggie and her children.
While Shane's relationship with Memphis was decidedly less confrontational than his relationship with Kayden, he still found his new role as a caregiver to two small children to be challenge to his patience. "I'm just trying to do the right thing by them," he said of Maggie and her children. "I'm trying to be a father to them."
Shane's relationship with Memphis was far less conflicted than his relationship with her brother, Kayden. He would constantly lavish attention and affection on Memphis, while his interactions with Kayden were decidedly more ambivalent.
Within a few months of their relationship, Shane moved Maggie and her children to a trailer park in Somerset, Ohio. The location was farther away than Maggie had ever been from her family and friends before, and she said her feelings of isolation only increased over time.
Kayden lifted a chair and a toy truck over his head to show how strong he was.
A trip to the barbershop designed to provide a moment of male bonding for Shane and Kayden could not dissolve the tension between them.
Shane and Kayden had a strained relationship from the beginning, with Shane trying to exert a strong parental presence and Kayden resisting the authoritative efforts of a man he knew was not his father.
Maggie would often say that she could sense the competition between Kayden and Shane, and often felt that she was caught between their separate demands for her affection and attention.
Shane attepts to restrain Kayden so the barber could cut the back of his hair. "He needs a male role model. I'm trying to be that," Shane said.
The stress of Shane's unemployment and raising two young children on very little money often took its toll on the relationship. As the newness of their relationship wore off, they began to argue more frequently, usually about money or how Maggie focused most of her energy on the children rather than her relationship. "Why can't I be the most important one, for once?" Shane asked.
One night, after an early birthday celebration for Memphis at a local fast food restaurant, the two began to argue. Shane said his main source of frustration stemmed from the fact that Maggie paid more attention to the children than she did to him.
Shane and Maggie argued in their car. Maggie's inability to devote as much attention to Shane as she devoted to her children became a constant source of strife between the two.
Maggie and Shane took a rare night out alone together, singing karaoke at a local bar.
After a night out at a local bar, Maggie left after becoming jealous of when another woman flirted with Shane. Upon arriving home, Shane flew into a rage, angry that Maggie had "abandoned him" at the bar and then drove home with his friend, whose house they were staying at for the week. Maggie told him to get out of the house, that he was too angry and that he would wake the children.
Rather than subsiding, Shane's anger began to grow, and he screamed that Maggie had betrayed him, at one point accusing his friend (not pictured) of trying to pursue her sexually.
At one point, Shane picked Maggie up and flung her back into the kitchen as she tried to run out of the room.
As the fight continued to rage, Shane told Maggie that she could choose between getting beaten in the kitchen, or going with him to the basement so they could talk privately.
When Maggie refused, Shane began grabbing her by the face and neck, choking her. "You can either get beat up here, or we can go talk alone," he said. "Your choice."
As Shane and Maggie continued to fight, Memphis ran into the room and refused to leave Maggie's side. She witnessed the majority of the assault on her mother. As the two fought, Memphis began to scream and stomp her feet.
Shane continued to scream in Maggie's face as Memphis wedged herself between them. At some point, the toddler had stopped crying and began trying to soothe her weeping mother.
Around half past midnight, the police arrived after receiving a call from a resident in the house (pictured at right). Maggie cried and smoked a cigarette as an officer from the Lancaster Police Department tried to keep her separated from Shane and coax out the truth about the assault.
Shane hugged Memphis goodbye before being arrested. He insisted he wasn't a bad person and that Maggie had been trying to leave the house and drive drunk with the children in the car.
Shane pled with Maggie not to let the police take him into custody, crying out, "Please, Maggie, I love you, don't let them take me, tell them I didn't do this!"
An officer from the Lancaster Police Department photographed the bruises on Maggie's neck from where Shane had choked her. "You know, he's not going to stop," the officer told Maggie as she wept. "They never stop. They usually stop when they kill you."
Convincing Maggie to be examined and sign a protection order took a great deal of coaxing from the officer. "I don't want to get him in trouble," she wept. "You aren't getting him into trouble. He got himself into trouble. I know Shane. He's a good guy, but he knows better than to do this," the officer replied.
Overwhelmed by her nerves and the shock of the abuse she suffered, Maggie became sick to her stomach.
Maggie tried to pull herself together as she prepared to drive with her children to her best friend's house for the night.
Kayden, who had slept through the assault, was disoriented and began to cry when he awoke. Memphis remained calm and seemed mostly concerned with comforting her mother. "Don't cry mommy, I love you," she said over and over.
Maggie wept on her best friend Amy's sofa after the attack. "I hate him so much," she whispered.
The day following the attack, Maggie had to grapple with what would come next for her and her children. She had no source of income, no childcare, and was afraid to return to the home she and Shane shared to retrieve her possessions. She expressed intense fear that Shane would be let out on bail and come after her, and called the jail several times to make sure he hadn't been released.
Maggie sat in front of her best friend Amy's house and smoked the morning after the assault, while Kayden and Amy's daughter Olivia, age 3, played in the window.
Memphis sat on the floor of her aunt's home crying for Maggie after having woken up from a nap. She witnessed most of the attack on her mother. "I want her to know that it's not okay for someone to treat you that way, that you don't ever deserve to be treated that way," Maggie said.
In the days following the attack, Maggie had time to reflect on what had occurred and decided to make an official statement to the police. She said she had resumed communications with her estranged husband and the father of her children, and was considering moving with her children to Alaska, where he is stationed with the Army.
Overwhelmed by frustration at a long flight delay, as well as by the prospect of transporting two small children all the way to Anchorage, Maggie closed her eyes and tried to calm herself down. Her grandfather had been given special permission by the airport to come to the gate to help her care for Memphis and Kayden. After a flight delay that lasted several hours, they were told the flight had been cancelled and were sent home. They flew to Anchorage the following day.
Memphis stood in front of an illuminated advertisement at the Port Columbus International Airport, waiting to fly to Alaska with her mother and brother to be with her father. Memphis' father is a soldier who is currently stationed in Anchorage. "I want us to be a family again," Maggie said. "[He] has been so understanding about everything, he wants to take care of us. I'm really lucky."
Maggie and Memphis, March 3, 2013. More than three months since the assault, Maggie has moved her family to Alaska to try to repair her marriage and give the children a chance to be closer to their father. Maggie and her husband met at 14. She said theyÕd been on and off since eighth grade, yet they always seem to find their way back to one another.
Maggie and Kayden, four, share a moment in the apartment they now share with Maggie's husband, Zane.
Because of his deployment and his period of separation from Maggie, Zane had only met his daughter Memphis once before she moved into his home in Alaska. He has embraced his new responsibilities as a father.
Kayden’s relationship with his father was diametrically opposed to his relationship with Shane. The two acted like playmates, but Zane had very few problems getting Kayden to respect his role as a parental figure. “He just respects Zane,” Maggie said of Kayden. “He didn’t respect Shane. He never really liked him.”
Maggie sat on the bathroom floor and cried after arguing with Zane. The two had fought with some regularity over her relationship with Shane, and although he had said he forgave her, Zane often had a difficult time letting go of his resentment. “I’m tired of apologizing,” Maggie said. “[Zane] cheated on me, I left him. It was a mistake. But when does it get easier?”
The couple had argued the previous evening, and in an apparent attempt to make amends, Zane had offered to paint Maggie's toenails. They didn't exchange many words, and they didn't discuss the argument or offer apologies or excuses — they simply sat together as a movie played in the background.
The morning after their argument, Maggie and Zane embraced in bed. The two have a host of trust issues to work through, as well as their own traumas to move past. "We've been together since we were 14," Maggie said. "It's hard not to have baggage after six years." Maggie is hopeful that she and Zane will be able to move past their problems, saying that somehow, they've always managed to find their way back to each other.
The following photographs were taken between Sept. 2012 and Dec. 2012. At 31, Shane had spent much of his life incarcer
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Sara Naomi Lewkowicz
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