CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–February 10, 2011. Twin brothers charged last year with operating a sex trafficking ring that forced young women to perform sex acts for money in the south suburbs, both pled guilty and were sentenced to prison announced the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Tyrelle and Myrelle Lockett, 18, of Dolton pled guilty to Class 1 Felony charges of Trafficking of Persons for Forced Labor or Services and received sentences of four years in prison. Local authorities arrested the defendants on sex trafficking charges last year after an undercover sting operation revealed that the two men were forcing young women, including one underage victim, to perform sex acts with men for money. In the operation, Cook County Sheriff’s Police officers met with Tyrelle Lockett in a Lansing motel after they had responded to an ad placed by the defendants on the Internet.
In 2010, State’s Attorney Alvarez created a Human Trafficking Initiative to more effectively combat the escalating problem of sex trafficking and underage prostitution. Specially trained prosecutors work closely with other local, state and federal law enforcement entities to investigate and prosecute these specific cases. The conviction in this case resulted from the initiative, and it represents the first state conviction for human trafficking.
“This conviction is the result of the collaborative effort by officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Vice Unit, Assistant State’s Attorneys from the Special Prosecutions Unit and our community partner, The Salvation Army. Each agency is truly committed to working together to not only arrest and prosecute the offenders, but also to help victims of sex trafficking and end the cycle of servitude and violence.”
According to prosecutors, the brothers’ operation involved making motel reservations and taking photos of the victims for the Internet ads they created and posted. Once the meetings were set, the victims would enter motel rooms and have sex with men while the defendants waited nearby to collect payment. The victims in the case told investigators that both Tyrelle and Myrelle beat them and threatened them if they did not perform the sex acts. The victims also said that the men kept control of all of the money the victims earned.
Both victims in this case, a 17-year-old and 18-year-old were not charged with any crime. Instead, they received support services from The Salvation Army’s STOP-IT Program, which offers psychological and medical treatment, educational services and vocational training for victims who have been harmed by the sex trade.
Tyrelle and Myrelle Lockett appeared in Cook County Circuit Court in Markham on Tuesday where both pled guilty before Judge Frank Zelezinski, who sentenced each to a four-year prison term.
State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked investigators from the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Vice Unit for their support, as well as investigators from her office’s Special Prosecutions Bureau. She also thanked The Salvation Army and Assistant State’s Attorney Lou Longhitano for his handling of the case.