Prosecutors Say Man Forced Tenants to Work for Him
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Alkhatib’s actions led authorities to uncover what they said was a shocking modern-day example of forced servitude — a South Side landlord who allegedly used torture, including inflicting burns with a heated butcher’s knife, along with beatings and threats to keep two tenants working for him even as he took every cent the two men made.
On Tuesday, authorities announced charges against Roy Esteviz Jr. of aggravated involuntary servitude, involuntary servitude and aggravated criminal sexual assault.
It’s the first time Cook County prosecutors have charged anyone under the state’s labor-trafficking laws, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters. She said such cases are difficult to uncover and prosecute. Both of Esteviz’s victims, in their early 20s, are mentally handicapped, prosecutors said.
“In the United States, forced labor is much more prevalent than any of us realize,” Alvarez said at the Leighton Criminal Court Building after Esteviz was ordered held on $500,000 bail. “Victims are often isolated and often as a result of language and cultural barriers do not want to go forward.”