Police: Man Forced Girlfriend Into Prostitution
UPDATED 12/21/10 10:24 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – A West Side man is due in bond court on charges of human trafficking, after authorities say he beat his girlfriend until she agreed to prostitute herself for him.
Walter Miller, 39, of the 1300 block of South Lawndale Avenue, is charged with involuntary servitude, a Class X felony, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office. He is also charged with trafficking in persons for forced labor or services, aggravated domestic battery and pandering.
Cook County sheriff’s vice officers began an investigation against Miller in October, when his 30-year-old alleged victim escaped from his control and contacted Stone Park police.
She said she had been forced to prostitute herself on the Mannheim Road corridor in unincorporated Cook County just outside Stone Park, which has been infamous for prostitution and similar abuses for many years, according to the sheriff’s office.
The victim said she began dating Miller in the early part of this year, and they moved into an apartment together in March. But the relationship quickly turned violent, and Miller was arrested for allegedly trying to choke the woman within a month of when they moved in together. The woman later dropped the charges.
From April to September, the woman worked as a waitress, while Miller was not working at all. But because the woman was not making enough money to pay rent, Miller allegedly took her to two Mannheim Road strip clubs – Carl’s and the Playpen – and told her to offer her services as a prostitute, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
Prosecutors say Miller came with the woman to the bars, waited outside while she had sex with the men, and took all the money she had earned. He also beat her numerous times in an effort to maintain dominance, the State’s Attorney’s office said.
The victim left and went to a shelter in October, but returned to Miller Nov. 5 after a promise that things would be different, according to the State’s Attorney’s office. But right away, prosecutors say, Miller took the woman back to the playpen and ordered her to teach a new girl how to work as a prostitute.
The new girl did not end up with any tricks, so the victim again began working as a prostitute and handing over all her earnings to Miller, prosecutors said. When the victim said she would not train the new girl, Miller allegedly choked her, pulled her hair and punched her in the head before forcing her back in the strip club.
On Nov. 11, the victim left Miller again. This allegedly followed another beating, in which Miller allegedly threatened to kill the victim if she did not come back and many money for him. The woman’s cell phone voice mail indicates that Miller told the victim that she is only to move when he says move, and that if she wants to quit, it’s “blood in, blood out,” according to the State’s Attorney’s office.
Miller is also accused of threatening to report the victim to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services based on an allegation about her 2-year-old son that was not true, according to the State’s Attorney’s office.
The victim called 911 on Nov. 15, and an investigation began, prosecutors said.
Miller has a long criminal record, including charges of domestic battery, drug possession and theft. He was arrested on Sunday, and will appear in bond court at noon at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse.