Lawsuit claims owners of Detroit strip club liable in sex trafficking case

2 woman from Ukraine forced to dance at Cheetah's Strip Club in 2005

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®

DETROIT - A new lawsuit aims to make a statement in the sex trafficking case that stretched from Eastern Europe to Detroit.

The case involved several women brought from the Ukraine to Detroit. The woman worked as dancers at the former Cheetah's Strip Club on Eight Mile.

Two young women from the Ukraine, who spoke no English, answered ads for waitress jobs and wound up in Detroit at the strip club.

The woman where forced to work 12 hours a days, six days a week. They were forced to hand over all of their identification papers and money to their employers whom the suit says beat and raped the woman. The two women were held captive inside a suburban home and watched closely.

This went on for nine months back in 2005. One of the women became suicidal and yet she was still forced to keep on dancing.

Arrests have already been made in the case.

Three men are in federal prison for this sex slave scam, they are: Veniamin Gonikman, his son Aleksandr Maksimenko and Mikhail Aronov. 

Now a lawsuit filed Monday says the owners of the strip club, now called the Ace of Spades, knew exactly what was going on and it's time for them to pay.

"It's horrifying," said Amy Good the CEO of Alternatives for Girls in Detroit. "A story of cold-hearted complete disregard for human rights and that's what trafficking is."

The suit claims the owners either did or should have known what was going on in their club.

"I think it's critical in some ways it might be even more important that institutions that knowingly condone trafficking and sex exploitation are held accountable," said Good.

The club owners say they knew nothing about the sex slaves and they were cleared by the feds.

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