Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the first labor trafficking case of Cook County’s new Human Trafficking Initiative. A Calumet City landlord is the first individual to face labor trafficking charges and be convicted for threatening and torturing two intellectually disabled men and exploiting them for money, under the aforementioned law.
Roy Estivez, 26, has been charged with Aggravated Involuntary Servitude, Involuntary Servitude, and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault for exploiting, threatening, and torturing his tenants while using vicious tactics to silence them.
Prosecutors revealed that the landlord has been renting his apartment at the 300 blocks of Campbell Avenue in Calumet City, to two intellectually disabled men since August 2013. The victims, ages 22 and 23, were reported to have been denied food for several months, and are being burned with a heated butcher knife, sexually assaulted with power drills, and exploited for money.
The defendant took advantage of this tenants’ disability and conned them into submitting their paychecks absolutely, and even forced the victims to get second or third jobs to sustain his lifestyle. Furthermore, the victims were not provided with food and were often forced to obtain some from work.
As if denying them, food was not enough. The victims were also abused and tortured. The defendant allegedly used electrical cords to whip the victims, and a heated butcher knife to burn their bodies and faces. Hydrogen peroxide was also said to have been poured over the victims’ open wounds, which caused severe pain. Estivez also sexually assaulted the younger of the victims with a power drill.
The victims were kept under his control using psychological tactics and threats, saying that he would kill them and harm their families if they try to escape or report him to the police. The defendant also claimed that he was backed by a gang and several police officers on his payroll.
Police learned about the torture after the manager of the restaurant where one of the victims worked noticed the identical burn marks on the faces of the victims, among other visible injuries. The manager repeatedly questioned the employee in concern until the 22-year-old victim began speaking of their experience of abuse. On October 20, 2013, upon disclosing the truth about his burns, the victim was taken to the Franciscan St. Margaret Health hospital in Hammond for his burns, and never returned to the defendant’s apartment.
Estivez was arrested on November 17, 2013, by the Chicago Police, and has appeared in bond court on November 18, 2013. Judge James Brown set the defendant’s bond at $500,000 and scheduled his next court date on December 10, 2013.
The charges against Roy Estivez marks the first labor trafficking case under the Human Trafficking Initiative of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, enacted by the State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in 2010.
With the provided criminal documents containing allegations that are not evidence of guilt, the public is reminded that the defendant shall be presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Updated: August 6, 2020