CHICAGO – A Bridgeport man is facing felony charges for allegedly trafficking young women for sex at his South Side apartment.
Man “Peter” Zhang, 42, was charged with promoting prostitution within 1,000 feet of a school, the Cook County sheriff’s office said.
Investigators began keeping tabs on Zhang Tuesday after receiving a tip from the National Human Trafficking Hotline with phone numbers that Zhang allegedly used to set up appointments for multiple young women, the sheriff’s office said. Those same phone numbers were then found online on various escort websites.
Later that day, investigators outside Zhang’s building saw two men enter and leave a short time later, the sheriff’s office said. One of the men confirmed he paid for sex and found the phone number online.
Undercover investigators reached out to the phone number the next day to make a “date,” and visited the apartment the day after, the sheriff’s office said. After a 21-year-old woman agreed to have sex for $200, the investigators got a warrant and entered Zhang’s apartment, where they found him with another trafficking victim.
Investigators found $3,000, about 20 cellphones, hundreds of condoms, boxes of lubricant and contracts between Zhang and the women, the sheriff’s office said. Zhang also had a surveillance system set up to monitor the building, and had texted the 21-year-old to warn her that police were outside, telling her not to speak to them.
Zhang was ordered held on $100,000 bond and forced to give up his passport, the sheriff’s office said. The women were not charged and instead offered social services; one of them accepted.
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