Illinois authorities busted a human-trafficking enterprise that operated in six Chicago suburbs, according to police.
Following a months-long investigation into human trafficking, five people have been arrested. The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office and the St. Charles Police Department made the announcement on Thursday.
Between Feb. 17 and Wednesday, authorities arrested five suspects who are accused of forcing seven women to engage in prostitution or face repercussions. Officials said all of the women were from South America and brought to the United States for the purpose of sex trafficking.
The seven victims were taken into protective custody on Wednesday morning.
Police arrested Hector Briseno, 54, of Chicago; Christian Hurtado, 27, of Elgin; Daniel Hurtado, 26, of South Elgin; Martha P. Hurtado-Hernandez, 57, of Chicago; and Rigoberto Parra, 46, of Aurora.
All of the suspects were charged with involuntary servitude, trafficking in persons for labor, and promoting prostitution for profit.
Judge Salvatore LoPiccolo set bail for each of the suspects at $5 million with $500,000 to apply for bond, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement, “The defendants procured locations for the commercial sexual activity, transported the victims to the locations to engage in the sexual activity and advertised that the victims were available for commercial sexual activity. The defendants physically restrained the victims by confining them to a residence, intimidated the victims with threats if they did not engage in the sexual activity, and maintained financial control over the victims.”
Authorities initially discovered a brothel in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles, according to WGN-TV. However, investigators soon discovered the human-trafficking enterprise also operated in Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, Hanover Park, unincorporated Palatine, and South Elgin.
Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser said, “I wish to commend the St. Charles Police Department for recognizing this situation as human trafficking and not one in which people are simply charged for sex acts and treated as offenders and not victims. Additionally, my thanks to the Aurora, Elgin, Hanover Park, and South Elgin police departments for their assistance in this investigation, as well as the Department of Homeland Security Investigations.”
The suspects are scheduled to return to court on July 28.