Alvarez said criminal enterprises "have made a fortune" exploiting women and girls in Cook County. One survey of Chicago-area women in the sex trade found that 73 percent got in the business before age 18, she said.
Alvarez described a criminal case in 2008 in LaSalle County, Ill., in which gang members distributed heroin and crack cocaine -- illicit substances prepared in Chicago -- using 17- and 18-year-old girls who smuggled the drugs in their bodies. Gang leaders were videotaped having sex with the girls, she said.
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