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CHICAGO (CBS) — A brothel madam from the Little Village neighborhood is going to prison for eight years, for forcing girls as young as 16 into the sex trade.
Rubicela Montero, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary sexual servitude of a minor and received an eight year prison sentence, according to a release from the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
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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.
The victim met Montero at a neighborhood laundromat, and Montero promised to hire her for cleaning work. But 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, the release said.
But the victim would not perform sex acts on the customers. This made Montero so angry that she threatened to have the woman deported and to tell her family what type of work she was doing, the release said.
The woman eventually began performing the sex acts, in fear of Montero. When she eventually quit working at the brothel, 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.
Montero 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, the release said. When questioned, Montero admitted to recruiting women and girls 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 release said.
“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.”
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.