CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–December 21, 2010. An investigation by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative has resulted in criminal charges against a Chicago man who allegedly forced his girlfriend to prostitute herself for his financial benefit and allegedly repeatedly beat and threatened her when she refused, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.
Walter Miller, 39, was scheduled to appear in bond court today on charges of Involuntary Servitude (Class X felony), Trafficking in Persons for Forced Labor or Services (Class 1 felony), Aggravated Domestic Battery (Class 2 felony) and Pandering (Class 4 felony) as a result of the joint Cook County investigation.
According to prosecutors, Miller and the victim had been in a relationship since January of 2010 and Miller, who was unemployed, began to force the victim to prostitute herself when she was not earning enough money from her job as a waitress. The case was investigated jointly by the Cook County Sheriff and the Cook County State’s Attorney. Police and prosecutors say the charges are an example of the types of cases that will continue to be investigated and charged as a result of new efforts to target human trafficking in Cook County.
“Sex trafficking is not just an international problem, it is a problem that occurs in our own communities and it is a crime that no woman or child should be subjected to,” said Alvarez. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute these individuals who are forcing victims to sell themselves for sex and hopefully raise awareness about this devastating problem and help victims realize that there is help available.”
According to prosecutors, Miller took the victim to bars and forced her to solicit men to have sex with her in exchange for money. When they agreed, Miller accompanied her and took all of the money that the victim was paid. Miller would often beat the victim and on several occasions strangled her and threatened to kill her.
Last October, the victim fled the defendant but was lured back after he promised to end the abuse. Upon her return, Miller forced the victim to teach another girl he had recruited how to solicit customers at the bars. When the new girl failed to earn any money, Miller forced the victim to begin prostituting herself again.
The victim left the defendant in November after he beat and strangled her yet again. The defendant continued to threaten to kill her and threatened to make false complaints to the Illinois Department of Family and Children’s Services regarding the victim’s child if she did not return to him. The victim then contacted authorities who launched the investigation.
Miller was scheduled to appear in Central Bond Court today at 11:45 at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California.
The case is being handled by the State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative Unit, which is working in partnership with law enforcement agencies such as the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, to combat the problem of domestic human trafficking. The State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit has designated prosecutors who are working with law enforcement partners at the federal, state and local level to conduct long-term and proactive investigations.
The office is also working in partnership with social service providers to assist law enforcement and help provide services for children or others who become the victims of human trafficking.
State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked the Cook County Sheriff’s Police and the investigators and prosecutors from the Human Trafficking Unit for their work on the case.
The public is reminded that charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.