5 charged after human trafficking operation busted in Chicago area

A human trafficking operation has been uncovered in the Chicago area, with five individuals now facing charges for their alleged involvement.

The investigation began in the spring when St. Charles police received information about a brothel in an apartment near North 15th and Brook streets. However, it soon became apparent that this illegal activity was not confined to just one location but was reportedly taking place across the area.

"You never know. You don't know who your neighbors are," said Mike, a nearby resident.

"They parked on the other side of the building. They were ski masked up and they went in and we just didn't know what they was going in there for," said Anthony, another neighbor.


The multi-jurisdictional investigation took several months to complete, and authorities have recovered and provided transitional housing for 10 victims so far. The suspects are accused of trafficking and promoting prostitution, with the victims being brought from South America to the United States for these illegal purposes.

The suspects consist of four men and one woman: 57-year-old Martha Hurtado-Hernandez of Chicago, 26-year-old Daniel Hurtado of Elgin, 46-year-old Rigoberto Parra of Aurora, 27-year-old Christian Hurtado of Elgin, and 54-year-old Hector Briseno of Chicago.

Daniel Hurtado, Christian Hurtado, Martha P. Hurtado-Hernandez, Rigoberto Parra, and Hector Briseno | Provided

They are each facing Class X felonies, including Involuntary Servitude and Class 1 felonies of Trafficking in Persons, Involuntary Servitude and Promoting Prostitution.

The investigation initially started in St. Charles but expanded to other locations, including Aurora, Chicago, Elgin, Hanover Park, unincorporated Palatine, and South Elgin. There were seven victims in these locations, and each victim was taken into protective custody and offered social services, according to St. Charles Police Chief James Keegan.

The victims range in ages from their early 20s to early 30s.

"It was like an onion. The more we peeled it back, the more it stunk and this is something that's prevalent in society and society can’t tune a deaf ear to it," said Keegan.

"A lot of times when law enforcement goes in, especially if they focus on this, for what the victim is doing, they considered a sex act, and they charged them with prostitution, all that causes the traffickers to get up and go into a different location," said Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser.

She adds the officers’ work was monumental that it focused on the traffickers, which will likely result in more suspects arrested and victims rescued.

All five suspects appeared in court on Thursday and were held on $5 million bonds. Investigators believe there may be more suspects involved and possibly more victims as well.

The investigation remains ongoing.