Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the charges made against three individuals allegedly involved in human trafficking of vulnerable women after the successful crackdown of an organized Cook County suburban prostitution ring, wherein women were found to be coerced into prostitution with the use of drugs and violence.
A suburban man, Keith “Shampoo” Williams, 52, along with his associates Roman Kurek, 49, and Sylvia Topolewski, 37, faces human trafficking-related charges. The defendants have all been charged with Involuntary Servitude (Class X Felony) and Trafficking in Persons (Class 1 Felony). Defendants Kurek and Topolewski face additional charges, namely, charges for Promoting Prostitution, and Prostitution charges, respectively.
Investigations on the suburban prostitution ring began in May of 2012, following the development of information indicating a possible drug activity and prostitution at the Schiller Park residence, where all three defendants resided.
“What started as a standard investigation into drugs and prostitution quickly evolved into something much more complex. As it turned out, Keith Williams was the Chief Operating Officer of a sex trafficking house of horrors, providing the sexual services of drug-addicted women to countless numbers of paying customers and collecting all of the significant cash profits for himself and his associates,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said.
The defendants allegedly targeted vulnerable women who are in need of a shelter or food and money. Defendant Williams was said to be responsible for recruiting women, most of whom are those he encountered on the streets. He would then bring these women home, at the Schiller Park residence, feed them, and engage them in powerful narcotics. This results in having the women hooked-up with the drugs and unable to leave or decline orders for prostitution. Williams arranges the sexual trafficking enterprise through street business or arranged meetings through the internet or by phone.
On the one hand, Kurek, one of William’s two associates, is in charge of driving the women to the place where the prostitution will take place, and subsequently bring them to Schiller Park residence after service has been provided. On the other hand, defendant Topolewski was appointed to manage and supervise the women for Williams, which included providing them heroin and crack cocaine approximately two to three times a day, in order to barely manage and sustain their drug addictions, which they provide to keep the women on a “leash”. Furthermore, it was reported that Williams had regularly employed physical violence on the victims, including locking the women up in a room, and urinating on the victims, as a form of punishment for a claimed “bad behavior”. It was noted that the victims experienced severe beatings, extreme drug withdrawals which made them sick, and withholding of food under the hands of defendant Williams.
The defendants appeared in bond court on February 1, 2013, at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago, where Williams received a $650,000 cash bond and Kurek and Topolewski received $350,000 cash bond each. All three may be face up to 30 years in prison for the Class X Felony and Class 1 Felony charges related to human trafficking offenses.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – Human Trafficking Initiative Unit was responsible for managing and overseeing the investigations of the case, where the Unit undertook a long-term operation, in partnership with the Schiller Park Police Department and the Illinois State Police, along with other law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, the Unit is committed to collaborating with community-based organizations and law enforcement agencies to combat domestic human trafficking. Efforts of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – Human Trafficking Initiative Unit include the appointment of outstanding prosecutors who work closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to provide better service and assistance to the victims of human trafficking, as well as ensure justice, whilst having proactive investigations in line with the goal of combatting human trafficking.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez commended the Human Trafficking Initiative Unit prosecutors, investigators, and service providers for their exemplary work on the case. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez also thanked the Schiller Park Police Department, the Illinois State Police, and the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department for their collaborative efforts on the case.
Updated: September 28, 2020