News/US: Man pleads guilty to enslaving Latvian strippers

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Subject: News/US: Man pleads guilty to enslaving Latvian strippers
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Mon Dec 06 1999 - 19:33:07 EST


Man pleads guilty to enslaving Latvian strippers
By Mike Robinson
December 4, 1999

CHICAGO (AP) -- A man who brought five Latvian women to the Chicago area to
work as strippers pleaded guilty to confiscating their passports and
keeping them in a state of involuntary servitude.

Alex Mishulovich, 38, a Russian immigrant, admitted Friday in federal court
that he had controlled the comings and goings of the women and their access
to the telephone. He said he chauffeured them to strip joints at least six
nights a week and pocketed most of their earnings.

Mishulovich said he told the women he would kill them and have their
families murdered as a way of keeping the women in line. He said he sold
one woman's passport to a patron of a strip club for $5,000 and a watch and
told the buyer he was free to do whatever he pleased with her.

He boasted about his ties to organized crime and especially the "Chechen
mafia," Mishulovich acknowledged in a signed plea agreement.

He entered his plea before Judge Joan Gottschall of U.S. District Court,
who could sentence him to up to 9 1/2 years in prison. She set April 28 for
the sentencing.

Mishulovich is expected to be a government witness at a trial set to start
Monday of co-defendant Vadim Gorokhovski, who is accused of housing the
women in early 1997 after they had fled from Mishulovich.

The defendant said he went to the Latvian capital of Riga in 1996 and
recruited the five women to work as Chicago strippers, promising pay of up
to $60,000 a year but warning that he would take a portion.

In a country where the average monthly income is about $250, the offer was
enticing, the FBI said in an affidavit accompanying the charges filed
against Mishulovich in September 1998.

Mishulovich housed the women in an apartment in Mount Prospect, a Chicago
suburb, and initially refused to allow them to leave unescorted. According
to his plea agreement, he pointed guns at the women as he urged them to
earn as much money as possible and turn it over to him.

Once the women escaped from him, he began to split a portion of their
earnings with Gorokhovski, according to the plea agreement.

Worried police would find out about the women, Mishulovich sent some of
them back to Latvia in 1997. But according to the plea agreement, he and
Gorokhovski went to Minsk, Belarus, later that year and recruited two other
women to work as exotic dancers in Chicago.

The two men were thwarted, however, by American officials who refused to
issue visas for the women. According to the plea agreement, the men were so
angry at the refusal that at one point guards had to be called to throw
them out of the U.S. Embassy.

Melanie Orhant

morhant@igc.org
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