Chicago Woman Sentenced For Role as Leader of Sex Trafficking Scheme
HAMMOND – Rita Law, 60, of Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen today to serve 360 months in federal prison after being found guilty, following a 3-week jury trial in February 2017, of two counts of trafficking and servitude, one count of transporting a person across state lines with intent that they engage in prostitution, and one count of using an interstate facility to promote prostitution, announced U.S. Attorney Thomas L Kirsch, II.
The trial evidence established that Law provided and obtained the labor and services of two victims, HV and XC, by means of a scheme to cause them to believe that if they did not perform the labor and services she demanded, they would suffer serious harm or physical restraint. Law was convicted of causing both women to work at her “spas” in northwest Indiana, where they were expected to and did engage in sexual acts in exchange for money with Law’s predominantly male clientele. Law’s businesses were “Duneland Spa” in Lake Station and Gary, Indiana and “Fun Fun Feet” in Hobart, Indiana. In sentencing Law, the court took into consideration her attempt to flee from the United States to Hong Kong in October 2013 after learning she was under investigation.
In announcing Law’s sentence, U.S. Attorney Kirsch described her offense conduct as “nothing short of diabolical.” “She used the American dream to lure unsuspecting women to the United States so she could enslave them for her own financial benefit.” Kirsch also said “My office’s willingness to extradite Rita Law from Hong Kong and pursue additional charges against her thereafter should serve as a warning to all those committing crime in the Northern District of Indiana – attempting to flee the country will not prevent my office from bringing you to justice.” “Sex trafficking of foreign and domestic victims will not be tolerated in the Northern District of Indiana as long as I am United States Attorney” he concluded.
“Let this sentence serve as a reminder that modern day slavery will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge James M. Gibbons, Homeland Security Investigations Chicago. “HSI will continue to work relentlessly with its law enforcement partners to bring those to justice who attempt to circumvent the law for financial gain.”
"This sentence cannot begin to compare to the trauma these victims were subjected to, and the life altering consequences they now face because they put their trust and faith in the defendant,” said Grant Mendenhall, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “The FBI will continue working with our law enforcement partners to aggressively identify and pursue the perpetrators of the devastating crime of human trafficking.”
This case resulted from a joint investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with assistance from the following additional law enforcement agencies: the Gary Indiana Police Department; the Oak Forest Illinois Police Department; the Hammond Indiana Police Department, the Hobart Indiana Police Department, the Lake Station Indiana Police Department, the Lake County Indiana Sheriff’s Office, the Indiana State Police, the United States Marshal’s Service, the Hong Kong Police and the HSI Hong Kong Attaché.
U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge James Gibbons, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Grant Mendenhall also thanked the following community organizations for providing services to HV and XC during the investigation and prosecution: Asian Human Services of Chicago, IL; Haven House of Hammond, IN; Cornerstone Community Outreach of Chicago, IL; and Heartland Alliance in Chicago, IL.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jill Koster and Abizer Zanzi.
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