Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the very first Cook County human trafficking conviction, wherein the organizer of a sex ring who coerced women into prostitution received a sentence of 18-year imprisonment.
Troy Bonaparte, 46, was found guilty of two counts of Involuntary Servitude, three counts of Trafficking in Persons for Forced Labor or Services, and one count of Pandering, totalling to five counts of human trafficking-related charges. The defendant was sentenced to 18 years prison term on July 12, 2011, by Cook County Judge William Lacy, following his arrest on August 8, 2010, by an undercover investigator. Upon arrest at the Elk Grove Village motel room, the undercover agent found money and the computer equipment used in the prostitution ring operations.
Prosecutors reported that the defendant went by the street name “Magnificent” and operated his sex ring by renting out motel rooms in various locations where the women he coerced to do prostitution with, would serve up to 25 customers per day. The victims, Brianna Holten’s and Jessica Nelson’s, had testified that they agreed to work for the defendant with a deal to have equal split on the proceeds of the operations; however, the defendant allegedly kept all the payments and threatened the women in order to keep them on his leash. Furthermore, the women testified that they were posted on bakcpage.com – an escort service website that is known to be one of the largest and far-reaching portals for sex trade on the internet. They were also given mobile phones to communicate with their clients but remained with the defendant in fear of being caught and physically abused. Threats, including threatening to harm and kill the victims, had forced the two women to follow the defendant and agree to be subjected into a commercial sexual activity.
Investigations also revealed that the two women were also provided with clothing, among other things that prepared them for prostitution and advertisements in the online classified website, to which established evidence proved the defendant to be guilty of charges.
The conviction of Troy Bonaparte was a result of the efforts of the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force – a multi-disciplinary task force focused on tackling and eliminating human trafficking cases through joint efforts of law enforcement and social and legal services. Founded by the Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in 2010, the task force is set to target offenders who engage in human trafficking, particularly those that lead and are accountable for sex trafficking women and children. Prosecutors of related cases work closely with other law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local level to work on long-term investigations, as well as assist victims on both legal and social services.
State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez expresses her hope in the work of the task force, “today’s sentence represents a significant achievement in our new efforts to investigate and prosecute the crime of human trafficking, which is occurring in our own backyard.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez commended the Assistant State’s Attorneys of the Human Trafficking Initiative Unity Beth Pfeiffer and Matthew Trun for their exemplary work on the first-ever Cook County human trafficking conviction. State’s Attorney Alvarez also thanked the investigations and the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Vice Unit for their collaborative work on the case.
Updated: September 2, 2020