First man convicted of sex trafficking in Cook County facing trafficking charges again

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Young woman transported from Minnesota against her will to work in the sex trade

A Chicago man previously convicted in Cook County for sex trafficking has been arrested and charged again with sex trafficking offenses and kidnapping for transporting a young woman to Chicago and planning to force her to work in the sex business, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced today.

Bond has been denied for Myrelle Lockett, 20, who was charged with Aggravated Trafficking in Persons (Class X felony), Involuntary Servitude (Class 1 felony), and Kidnapping (Class 2 felony) following an investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Human Trafficking Initiative and the Chicago Police Department. 

Lockett and his twin brother, Tyrelle Lockett, were sentenced to four years in prison in February of 2011 for sex trafficking two teen girls and collecting all of the financial proceeds.  Their sentences marked the first-ever convictions in the state of Illinois for Human Trafficking related offenses. 

According to prosecutors, Myrelle Lockett recently made contact over social media with an 18-year-old female who lived in Minnesota.  Lockett then traveled to Minnesota with his twin brother where he arranged contact with the woman. 

Once they made contact with the victim in Minnesota, Lockett told the victim that he was taking her to Chicago and that she was now going to be his “bitch.”  The victim told Lockett she did not want to go to Chicago or work as a prostitute but Lockett insisted and the victim feared being physically assaulted. 

While traveling by car to Chicago, the victim sent text messages to Minnesota stating that she was being taken to Chicago against her will.  A police report was made in Minnesota and police began to search for the victim.  According to prosecutors, when the Lockett brothers reached Chicago this past Saturday they went to their father’s home on the South Side where they brought the victim and kept her under watch in the house.  In the middle of the night, the victim managed to escape from the house and called 911.  Chicago Police Officers investigating the kidnapping took Lockett into custody in his car in the area of 43rd and Drexel.

Lockett’s father, Nathan Nicholson, also has a pending indictment for Promoting Prostitution. 

State’s Attorney Alvarez said the case demonstrates the continuous threat that human trafficking can pose to young victims.

“Sex trafficking continues to surface as a very real and alarming crime right here in our own communities,” Alvarez said.  “This case, in particular, demonstrates the heinous nature of trafficking.  Despite the fact that he had a prior conviction, this defendant had the audacity to attempt to continue to victimize other young women.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy said the arrest and charges reflect the strong partnership and awareness that the department has placed on cases involving trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a disturbing offense, and one that attacks people’s basic rights,” said McCarthy. “The fact that we were able to arrest and charge this man is the result of quick thinking by the victim, great police-work and a strong partnership with the State’s Attorney. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure all criminals are held accountable for the crimes they commit.”  

In 2010 State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez created the first ever Human Trafficking Initiative to more effectively combat the escalating crime of sex trafficking and other related offenses.     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.   

Since the new initiative began, the State’s Attorney’s Office has charged 79 defendants with Human Trafficking and other related charges. 

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain allegations that are not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the state has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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