Two people are facing sex trafficking-related charges after being arrested for prostituting a 15-year-old mentally challenged girl, according to the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.Â
Cornelius Mondane, 45, and Shermille Patterson, 41, both of Chicago, were arrested by Chicago police over the weekend. Both are charged with Involuntary Sexual Servitude of a Minor (Class X felony) and Trafficking In Persons for Forced Labor or Services (Class 1 felony). If conviced they could face up to thirty years in prison.
According to prosecutors, around midnight on August 6, Chicago police officers on routine patrol observed the 15-year-old victim dressed only in a bra and fishnet stockings flagging down vehicles near 4700 W. 5th St. When officers approached the girl she identified Mondane, who was standing nearby, as her pimp. The victim told officers that Patterson had recruited her to prostitute for the couple about three weeks ago.
The victim further told officers that the defendants would typically pick her up near her home and drive her to the West Side of Chicago where she would perform sex acts for money. The defendants provided the victim with a cell phone and clothes to wear while she was working for them. They took all the money she earned and also would buy her marijuana and alcohol, according to prosecutors.
Police officers stopped the defendants when they were observed driving in a vehicle near the scene. The victim’s clothes were recovered from the car and the cell phone she was carrying was found to have Mondane’s number programmed in to it.
The defendants were arrested and appeared in bond court over the weekend where bail was set at $250,000 for Mondane and $150,000 for Patterson. Their cases were both continued to August 23rd for preliminary hearings.
Earlier thisÂ year, State’s Attorney Alvarez created a Human Trafficking Initiative within her office to more effectively combat this problem. Prosecutors work closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to both coordinate investigations and share intelligence. The initiative also networks with non-profit organizations and other agencies to provide services to those caught up in the sex trade.
“These arrests highlight the fact that the sexual trafficking of childrenÂ is not just a global problem but one that is taking place right here in our own backyards,” said Alvarez. “We will continue our efforts to work with Chicago police to aggressively investigate and prosecute those found to be engaged in human trafficking and to provide social services for the victims of this crime.”