Home Nature Local authorities report that a woman from Highland Park trafficked four people, including two children.

Local authorities report that a woman from Highland Park trafficked four people, including two children.

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Local authorities report that a woman from Highland Park trafficked four people, including two children.

4 individuals, including a 2-year-old, reportedly were extracted on Feb. 7 from a human trafficking operation in Highland Park.

Based on a Lake County press release, the sheriff’s office, Highland Park Police Department and Homeland Security collaborated on an investigation that led to an arrest of Gladys Ibanez Olea, 34, of Highland Park, who allegedly was holding the individuals in servitude in her home in the five hundred block of Onwentsia Avenue.

Olea was charged with eight counts of human trafficking and 7 counts of involuntary servitude, all felonies, based on the discharge.

The 4 alleged victims — a 22-year-old, 19-year-old, 15-year-old and 2-year-old — were relocated and are receiving services, the discharge says.

“Human Trafficking is an actual problem across the US and right here in Lake County,” Sheriff John D. Idleburg said in an announcement. “I’m thankful these 4 victims were saved from their abuser and are not any longer living in fear. Traffickers prey on the vulnerabilities of their victims. They exploit their victims for private gain. Our Special Investigations Group has rescued quite a few victims during the last several years, and rescuing victims while holding traffickers accountable stays a top priority.”

Based on the discharge, the investigation began following a tip a community member gave to the Highland Park Police Department in January.

Authorities collected evidence that reportedly shows Olea arranged for 4 individuals to be illegally escorted into the country from Mexico in July of 2023 after which to Highland Park. Though she “promised housing, safety and jobs,” Olea as a substitute took possession of their belongings, including their identification and money, and compelled the three oldest individuals into jobs to pay “their debt for protected entry into the US.”

“The ‘debt’ they owed Olea continually grew, and it appeared not possible they might give you the option to repay the ‘debt,’” based on the discharge.

Investigators also discovered that the 2-year-old was given cold baths to maintain them awake through the day; the 15-year-old was given a fake ID and compelled to work fairly than attend school; and the home featured padlocks on the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator “to be able to control” what and when the alleged victims ate, the discharge says. Moreover, the alleged offender reportedly told the individuals that their families can be killed in the event that they didn’t obey her.

Olea was apprehended without incident and stays in Lake County jail, the discharge says.

The Record, which doesn’t typically publish the names of arrestees, selected to discover Olea due to extraordinary nature of the alleged crimes and the profound impact she they usually have and will have on the community.

A special message from the City of Highland Park sent on Wednesday condemns Olea’s alleged actions.

“The alleged actions of the suspect, a resident of Highland Park, don’t reflect our community’s values. As a City, we’re outraged by the actions of traffickers who abuse others for private gain,” the message reads.

Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen praised the collaborative efforts of the investigation and emphasized the importance of the community tip.

“Consistent with the Ten Shared Principles of Public Safety, the City of Highland Park Police Department strives to supply public safety education and community engagement opportunities that construct trust with our residents, businesses, and other governments, because we’re all partners in keeping our community protected,” he said in an announcement.

“This investigation began due to a community tip. It underscores how vital it’s for community members to talk up if someone’s actions or behaviors seem suspicious. Together, we will work to construct safer communities where everyone can thrive.”

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