CHICAGO MAN CHARGED WITH TRAFFICKING GIRLFRIEND FOR SEX
Tuesday, December 21, 2010— A Chicago man will appear in bond court today to face human trafficking and other charges, after an investigation revealed he beat his girlfriend until she agreed to engage in sex with strangers – all for his own financial benefit, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Tuesday.
Walter Miller, 39, of the 1300 block of South Lawndale, is charged with involuntary servitude – a class X felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison – as well as trafficking in persons for forced labor or services, aggravated domestic battery and pandering, after an investigation by the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Vice Unit and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative Unit.
Vice officers were tipped to the case in October, when the 30-year-old victim escaped from Miller’s control and she contacted the Stone Park Police Department. She said she had been forced to sell herself along the Mannheim Road corridor near Stone Park – an area long targeted by sheriff’s vice officers for these types of abuses. Because of those initiatives, Stone Park Police linked her with sheriff’s contacts. That led to a joint effort by police and prosecutors to further the investigation and secure charges in the case.
The victim told investigators that shortly after she began dating Miller in early 2010, he began forcing her to sell herself for sex. He kept all of the money from the acts and if she attempted to stop, he would viciously beat her and threaten to call the Department of Children and Family Services to take away her young child.
Miller, who has a long criminal history that includes charges for domestic battery, drug possession and theft, was arrested at his home on Sunday without incident. He is set to appear in bond court at 26th and California around noon today.
Investigators, along with the Sheriff’s Department of Women’s Justice Services and its Human Trafficking Response Team, are providing assistance to the victim, and will work to secure safe, therapeutic housing. Dart’s approach to these cases – which includes employing former prostitutes to work with vice officers and victims – is nationally recognized and includes partnerships with organizations which provide substance abuse and mental health services for the victims.