CHICAGO | A Calumet City man is in Cook County Jail after becoming the first person in Cook County to face charges related to labor trafficking.
Roy Estivez, 26, of the 300 block of Campbell Avenue, is charged with aggravated involuntary servitude, involuntary servitude and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault.
All are Class X felony offenses that carry up to 30 years in prison, if found guilty.
Estivez appeared at the Criminal Courts building Tuesday, where Judge James Brown set bond at $500,000. Estivez is scheduled to appear in court again for a preliminary hearing Dec. 10.
The involuntary servitude charges were enacted by the state’s attorney’s office under a Human Trafficking Initiative implemented in 2010. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said this is the first time her office has filed such charges.
Officials with the state’s attorney’s office said Tuesday that Estivez operates an apartment building in the South Chicago neighborhood, where he rented a unit in August to two men ages 22 and 23.
Prosecutors said in court during Estivez’s bond hearing that he pressured the two men, both of whom are mentally challenged, to hand over their entire paychecks to him. He also pressured them to take on second and third jobs and to work overtime, so they could turn over that money to him as well, prosecutors said.
In a prepared statement, the state’s attorney’s office said Estivez tortured both men with beatings and whippings with an electrical cord. They say Estivez burned both victims with the heated blade of a knife and would pour hydrogen peroxide over open wounds to cause more pain.
Estivez also is alleged to have sexually assaulted one of the men, the state’s attorney’s office said.
The men were afraid to leave because Estivez threatened to kill them and harm their families, the state's attorney's office said. He also allegedly told the men that he was "mobbed up" and had police officers on his payroll.
Law enforcement became involved Oct. 20 when one victim's boss noticed the visible injuries. The man reportedly told his boss about the violent acts. That man was taken to Franciscan St. Margaret Health hospital in Hammond to be treated for burns and never returned to the apartment, however Estivez tried to find him.
Chicago Police Department officers were notified, and Estivez was arrested Sunday. The state’s attorney’s office would not say if he had prior criminal convictions on his record.