Westchester County Police stumbled upon a dangerous human trafficker Thursday in what they thought would be a routine traffic stop on the Saw Mill River Parkway in Yonkers.
35-year-old Nicholas Alvarez, of Queens, is facing federal Human Trafficking charges. Police believe he enslaved 3 women from New York City, Upstate New York, and Maryland and forced them to perform sex acts against their will.
Police pulled over the van Alvarez was riding in because the license plate was missing. They soon discovered the van was stolen and brought everyone back to police headquarters. After hours and hours of questioning, the women revealed what was really going on.
"They advised us that they were being held against their will," said Detective David Whitney from the Westchester County Police Department. "And taken from state to state and made to do -- to conduct prostitution."
The women told police they were slapped, punched, beaten with a baseball bat, and submerged in water. Alvarez - who goes by a handful of aliases - allegedly took all the money from each sex act. Police say he told the women they could not leave or he would harm their families.
"They're terrified ... and that would be the best way to put it... they're traumatized," said Detective Whitney.
Police say the women were taken from Virginia to New York to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They were always on the run in search of the next john, trying to avoid getting caught.
The women were not charged with a crime. Police are trying to reunite them with their families. The detectives are also urging other women who recognize Alvarez in the photo to come forward - no questions asked. They are trying to determine if his tracking ring extends further than these 3 women.