Authorities described a new generation of digital sex traffickers who do business completely via the internet by using their smartphones.
NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Two twin brothers from Illinois are back in jail on sex trafficking charges, just four years after they became the first individuals to be convicted under a 2010 state law against human trafficking, according to media reports.
Tyrell Lockett, 21, was charged in a federal case with transporting minors from Indiana to Illinois with the goal of forcing them into prostitution, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“Obviously, he’s up to his old tricks,” the newspaper quoted William Leen, a police officer involved in the case, as saying.
Tyrelle and Myrelle Lockett, both from Chicago, were 17 years old at the time of their first conviction to four years behind bars for trafficking people for forced labour. They served a portion of that sentence before being released.
In the present case, Tyrelle allegedly used Facebook to lure his victims. A complaint lodged with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said he went by the name “Rico Finally Paid” to draw three minors from the state of Indiana and force them into prostitution, giving them fake names and allegedly taking away all the money they made.
“Authorities say he took sex trafficking completely digital, one of a new generation of pimps who need only a smartphone to recruit girls, take pictures, post ads, and make appointments with johns,” wrote the Daily Beast’s Michael Daly.
From 2012 to March 2014, Tyrelle Lockett and unnamed others “ran a prostitution business in the Chicagoland area and elsewhere,” the complaint cited by the Chicago Sun-Times read.
Tyrelle’s brother Myrelle is accused of abducting a woman from Minnesota and luring her into prostitution. The woman escaped from the house she was taken to, allegedly the home of the Locketts’ father, by clambering over a fence.
Both Tyrelle and Myrelle are currently back in jail.
Chicago law enforcement is partnering with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the FBI to launch an awareness campaign about human trafficking aimed at better defining the issue in the Chicago area and raising awareness among residents, according to DNAinfo Chicago.
"Within our own city, our own county, in the state, trafficking goes on and goes on all the time," Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said at a press conference on Tuesday. "It's local children being trafficked by local people. It's the same horrific nightmare."
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