CHICAGO — Two aspiring Chicago rappers allegedly used violence and threats to force women into their sex trafficking ring, according to charges filed against the two in federal court.
Samuel Nichols, 30, and Charles Fears, 22, are charged with one count of engaging in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, according to a press release from the U.S. District Attorney's Chicago office.
The two men, members of the local rap group "Hit Squad," allegedly used Backpage.com, a sex classifieds ads website, to coerce women and minors to engage in the commercial sex business.
The two gave the women cell phones and told them to answer calls and schedule meetings with customers of Backpage.com, according to the press release.
Fears and Nichols allegedly carried guns and would physically abuse the women who worked for them, including one incident where a woman was beaten so badly she had to be hospitalized, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Most of the meetings occurred in the south and western suburbs.
The women then gave their earnings to Nichols and Fears, according to the release.
Fears, of Chicago, was arrested in the city Friday morning, according to release. He is scheduled for a detention hearing on Jan. 22.
Nichols, formerly of Chicago, was arrested in Tennessee, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
The two face a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison for the charges, according to the release.
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