Anti-Human Trafficking Resources at Work

I love hearing stories of how efforts to combat sex trafficking are actually working.  Here is one from the area I live in, Chicago, from today’s newspaper on how a woman, who had been coerced and trapped into prostitution, called the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), which ultimately led to the arrest and conviction of the person who trafficked her.  See below for the full story.

By the way, the NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. It is operated by Polaris Project, a non-government organization working to combat human trafficking. Callers can report tips and receive information on human trafficking by calling the hotline at 1.888.3737.888.  The hotline provides data on where cases of suspected human trafficking are occurring within the United States. A national map of calls is updated daily to reflect the sources of calls to the hotline.

Pilsen ‘madam’ convicted, sentenced to 8 years

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE November 1, 2011 11:12AM

A “madam” who operated a brothel in the Pilsen community and forced young women into the sex trade using threats and intimidation against girls as young as 16 has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to eight years in prison, according to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office.

Rubicela Montero, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary sexual servitude of a minor and received an eight year prison sentence, a release from Alvarez’s office said.

According to prosecutors, the investigation began when one of the victims called the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and reported that Montero was running a brothel and forcing her and other young girls to prostitute themselves at a home near 31st Street and Millard Avenue.

When the victim met Montero at a neighborhood laundrymat she told her she would hire her for cleaning work. When the victim showed up for work, she was told she would instead be performing massages for male customers. In a desperate situation and having no job and four children to support, the victim agreed.

After a few weeks Montero became angry with the victim and threatened to have her deported because she would not perform sex acts on the customers, the release said. Montero also threatened to tell her family what type of work she was doing. Afraid, the victim eventually relented to the Montero’s demands. When she eventually stopped working for Montero, Montero repeatedly showed up at her house, banged on her door and threatened to kill her if she didn’t come back to work, the release said. She also found out when the victim got a new job and showed up there to harass her.

Eventually the victim called the trafficking hotline to report Montero.

Authorities launched an investigation and Montero was arrested after one of her employees agreed to have sex with an undercover officer for money. When questioned, Montero admitted to recruiting women as young as 16 to work for her. She further admitted to placing newspaper ads, scheduling clients, negotiating rates for sex acts, providing the girls with condoms and threatening the victims when they attempted to quit working for her.


“The sexual trafficking of vulnerable young women is a horrific crime that not only takes away a person’s rights, but also their freedom,” Alvarez said. “We will continue to investigate and target individuals who commit these acts and prosecute cases such as this one to the fullest extent of the law.”