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Anita Alvarez
Cook County State's Attorney
Communications Department
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 603-3423
saomedia@cookcountyil.gov


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 16, 2012

Chicago Man In Bond Court Today Facing Multiple Class X Charges For
Operating Human Trafficking Ring On City's West Side

State's Attorney Alvarez Says Law Enforcement Will Be On
"High Alert" For Sex Trafficking During NATO Summit


Following the arrest of a Chicago man on multiple human trafficking charges, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said today that her office and partners in law enforcement will be on high alert during Chicago’s NATO Summit working to deter incidents of sex trafficking.

In the State’s Attorney’s ongoing crackdown on the crime of human trafficking, a 35-year-old West Side man will appear in bond court today at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California to face Class X felony charges of running a violent organized sex trafficking ring in which he recruited and lured female victims with shelter and drugs and then forced them to sell their sexual services on the streets or the internet as a commodity. 

Alvarez said today’s charges against DaJuan Brown, 35, should send a strong message to both traffickers and potential customers of sex trafficking that this crime will not be tolerated and that Cook County authorities will be taking increased measures to ensure that juveniles are not being sexually exploited as tens of thousands of tourists, protesters and interested parties come to Chicago for the NATO Summit. 

“The sexual services of children and young men and women are not for sale here in Chicago and law enforcement will be doing everything within our power to ensure that juveniles are not being exploited for the purposes of sex trafficking,” Alvarez said.  “We have some powerful new laws on the books here in Illinois to attack this crime and as today’s charges make clear, we will not hesitate to use them.”

Brown appeared in bond court today where he was charged with one count of Aggravated Trafficking in Persons and 10 counts of Involuntary Servitude.  Both charges are Class X felonies punishable by up to 30 years in prison.  The investigation was conducted in cooperation with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Vice Unit.

According to prosecutors, over the course of the last five years, Brown was operating a trafficking ring of young women whom he kept locked in his apartment in the 1400 block of North Laramie and forced them to work as prostitutes on a daily basis. 

Brown is accused of exploiting the women by making them dependent upon him for all of their basic needs including food, shelter, clothing, cigarettes and heroin for their drug addictions.  Brown took the women’s money, identification, benefits cards and cellular telephones and denied them freedom of movement forcing them to sell their bodies over and over again for his personal profit. 

According to prosecutors, as part of his control, Brown manipulated the women’s drug addictions by distributing a controlled amount of heroin to the women each day before their shifts and only allowing them to return to the apartment after they reached their “quota” of sex customers.  When the women reached their quota, Brown permitted them to return to the apartment where he would provide them with more heroin and food from the McDonald’s Dollar Menu.

According to prosecutors, Brown used violence and threats to prevent the women from leaving his custody.  Women who did not obey his orders were routinely beaten by Brown, who would use his fists, a hanger or other objects.  He choked one victim with a belt until she was blue in the face and pistol whipped the same victim with a gun when she disobeyed his orders.

“These are stories you might expect to hear coming from a Third World Country, not from the streets of the City of Chicago.  But this type of violence and exploitation of women is occurring right here in our own back yards,” Alvarez said. “More than ever before, we are focusing our efforts on rescuing women and children caught up in this crime and punishing the traffickers to the fullest extent of the law.”

The case against Brown is being handled by the State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative, created by Alvarez to proactively investigate and prosecute sex trafficking cases.  Alvarez said her human trafficking team will be on alert throughout the NATO Summit and will be conducting additional surveillance as well as closely monitoring internet websites for the postings of sexual services. 

Studies have shown that there is typically an increase in the demand for commercial sex services surrounding large sporting events, conventions or other significant events in major cities.  According to the State’s Attorney, these events provide significant potential for an increase in sex tourism and traffickers know this demand exists and so they move victims much like a product.  Prior to large global events like the Super Bowl and the World Cup, law enforcement has seen an increase in ads for sex services on sites such as Backpage and Craigslist. 

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked the prosecutors, investigators and partners working in the Human Trafficking Initiative as well as the officers of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Vice Unit for their hard work on the case.

 

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