Girls as young as 12 years old forced into prostitution
Illinois State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said that dozens of girls (some as young as 12) were forced into prostitution by a human trafficking ring.
Alvarez said that the girls and women (some of them homeless) were recruited on trains, via the Internet or during chance meetings on the street. She also announced that nine people were charged with “involuntary sexual servitude of a minor” and trafficking in persons for forced labor.
Investigators used wiretaps during a yearlong investigation called “Little Girl Lost.” It was discovered that girls were sometimes beaten, thrown into a car trunk and driven around as a form of punishment, or even branded, Alvarez said. One girl (age 13) was sold for $100 from one pimp to another.
Michael Anton, a commander with the Cook County sheriff’s vice unit, said “There’s so much of this [human trafficking] out there…It’s happening every day. It’s happening in Chicago, Cook County, it’s happening across the state.”
Of the nine arrested four appeared in Cook County court Wednesday and were ordered held on bail as high as $1 million, while the other five were scheduled to appear on Thursday. The investigation is ongoing, according to Alvarez.