Following a yearlong, multiagency investigation dubbed "Little Girl Lost," nine people have been charged in the case under provisions of a state anti-human-trafficking law passed last year.
A long term undercover investigation into the forced sex-trafficking of children and young women by Chicago street gang members has resulted in charges against nine offenders in the nation’s first-ever state-based wiretap investigation targeting the crime of human trafficking, Cook County and Chicago law enforcement officials announced yesterday.
Operation “Little Girl Lost” targeted street gang members who sex-trafficked children and young women, some as young as 12 years old, to sell their sexual services on the streets or the internet as a commodity. The arrests and charges were announced by Anita Alvarez, Cook County State’s Attorney, Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Superintendent, Darryl McPherson, U.S. Marshal, and officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Vice Unit. “Street gang members are not just selling drugs any longer, they are selling children and young women for sex right here in our own backyards, in some of the most violent and appalling cases of sex trafficking,” Alvarez said. The investigation marks the first time in Cook County and across the nation that law enforcement employed a state-based wiretap in a human-trafficking investigation. The offenders are all gang members, former gang members or associates of various Chicago street gangs.
A sex trafficking ring has been brought down by Operation Little Girl Lost. Girls, as young as 12, were being sold for sex by members of the Vice Lords and other gangs. Police have charged eight men and one woman for involuntary sexual servitude of a minor and human trafficking.
Chicago authorities announced yesterday the results of "Operation Little Girl Lost" that netted the sex trafficking arrests. Working the elevated trains and grocery stores of Chicago's south and west sides, the sex trafficking ring referred to their girls as "hos" and the girls often had to call them "Daddy." According to court documents, a young female witness testified that the ring supplied the young girls with marijuana and ecstasy thereby increasing the hold over the girls in their control. Operation Little Girl Lost took 18 months of hard work to get these predators into court. It was the first time state-based wire tapping was done in a sex trafficking investigation, thanks to the new Illinois State Children's Act. Operation Little Girl Lost only exposed the tip of the proverbial iceberg.