CHICAGO (CBS) — The organizer of a sex ring who forced women into prostitution was sentenced to 18 years in prison Tuesday in Cook County’s first conviction in a human trafficking case.

Troy Bonaparte, 46, of 8025 S. Ridgeland was found guilty on March 24 of involuntary servitude, trafficking in persons for forced labor or services, and pandering, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

He was the first person convicted under the state’s attorney’s new human trafficking initiative, which led to creation of a special unit in 2010.

On Tuesday, Judge William Lacy sentenced Bonaparte to 18 years in prison, a release from the state’s attorney’s office said.

Bonaparte was arrested in August 2010 following a joint investigation by the new unit and Cook County Sheriff’s police vice officers.

According to prosecutors, Bonaparte recruited three women between May and August 2010, and made them work as prostitutes. He allegedly took sexually provocative photos of them and posted them in internet ads for escort services.

Bonaparte, who went by the name “Magnificent,” rented motel rooms where the women would live with him, according to the state’s attorney’s office. The women would have sex with five to 25 customers per day, according to prosecutors.

Bonaparte would keep all the money, and would beat or threaten to kill the women — ages 19, 24 and 30 — if they tried to leave or challenge him, prosecutors said.

The operation was uncovered when sheriff’s vice officers responded to an internet ad in Elk Grove Village. Bonaparte was arrested Aug. 8, 2010, at a motel there with more than $2,700 in cash and a laptop computer used to run the operation, according to prosecutors.

“Today’s sentence represents a significant achievement in our new efforts to investigate and prosecute the crime of human trafficking, which is occurring in our own backyard,” State’s Atty. Anita Alvarez said in the release.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Watch & Listen LIVE