Sex trafficking suspects
From left: Keith Williams, Roman Kurek and Sylvia Topolewski. (Cook County state's attorney's officeFebruary 1, 2013)
By Bridget Doyle
Cook County prosecutors announced charges today in connection with a sex trafficking ring in suburban Schiller Park that preyed on poor or homeless women who were forced into prostitution through drug addiction and violence.

At a press conference, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez referred to the operation as a “sex trafficking house of horrors” and said the half dozen women were supplied heroin and crack cocaine on “a silver platter” to keep them addicted to the narcotics and beholden to the ring's leader.

Authorities identified Keith Williams, 52, as the alleged ring leader and said Roman Kurek, 49, and Sylvia Topolewski, 37,  were all charged  with involuntary servitude and sex trafficking. The three reside at the same Schiller Park residence. Bonds were set at $650,000 for Williams and $350,000 for each of the others.

Schiller Park Police Officer Brian Norris told reporters that the department received a tip last May about drug activity and prostitution at Williams’ residence, leading to a nearly eight-month investigation involving undercover work.

Alvarez said Williams, who goes by the street name of “Shampoo,” recruited the vulnerable women to live with him and controlled them with threats, intimidation and brutality. Williams pocketed all the profits from the prostitution for himself and his associates.

Williams punished the women for so-called “bad behavior” by severely beating them, withholding food from them and demeaning them in other ways, prosecutors said.

Williams would sometimes handcuff the women for days and lock them in a room where they would be deprived of food and narcotics, leading them to become sick from drug withdrawals, prosecutors said.

Alvarez said the six women involved in Williams’ sex trafficking operation were being offered help through social service agencies. More women may have been involved in the operation, though, and are encouraged to come forward to receive support, she said.