NEWS: Two Charged for Enslaving Strippers

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Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Fri, 18 Sep 1998 08:53:33 -0700 (PDT)


Saturday September 12 5:16 AM EDT

Two Charged for Enslaving Strippers

ERIC FIDLER Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO (AP) - They spent their days like prisoners inside a one-bedroom
apartment until they
were driven to Chicago nightclubs and forced to strip for $20 a night.

Any thoughts the Latvian women had of escaping the routine, the FBI says,
were scared away by
gun-wielding Alex Mishulovich, who claimed allegiance with the Chechnyan mafia.

Mishulovich, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Russia who lives in a Chicago
suburb, posed as a
nightclub owner to bring at least five Latvian women to the Chicago area,
according to an FBI
affidavit released Thursday.

Mishulovich and his wife, Rudite Pede, approached the young woman on the
streets of Riga,
Latvia, and told them they could earn up to $60,000 a year dancing for men
who wouldn't be
allowed to grope them, the affidavit alleged.

In a country where the average monthly income is about $250, the offer was
enticing, the FBI said.

Mishulovich helped the women obtain immigration papers, but as soon as they
arrived in Chicago
he took their papers, locked them in apartments or hotel rooms, beat them
and threatened to kill
them, the FBI said.

Mishulovich was charged with visa fraud, peonage - keeping someone in
servitude- and conspiracy
to commit peonage. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted. Pede was
charged with visa
fraud and conspiracy to commit peonage, and she faces 30 years in prison.
Three others were
charged in the scheme.

The couple were being held without bond until a hearing on Monday. It was
not immediately
known whether they had attorneys.

Authorities said Mishulovich told the women his mobster associates would
kill their families in
Latvia if they refused to obey him. At times, the affidavit said, he held a
gun to a woman's head or
put a knife to her throat.

The women would earn as much as $600 a night in strip clubs, but were forced
to give all but $20
to Mishulovich or his associates, said the FBI.

The alleged conspiracy was uncovered by an American embassy official who
became suspicious
when many of the women listed the same address where they would be staying
in the United
States.


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