Human Trafficking At High In Mexico And U.S – A Victim’s Story
Human trafficking survivor, Karla Jacinto, says she was raped 43,200 times. She says up to 30 men a day, seven days a week, for the best part of four years — 43,200. It reveals the brutal realities of human trafficking in Mexico and the United States, that has destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of Mexican girls like Karla.
Human trafficking is such a lucrative trade, that it knows no borders and links towns in central Mexico with cities like Atlanta and New York. The town called Tenancingo has been a major source of human trafficking rings.
Even with a limited population of about 13,000, Susan Coppedge, the U.S. State Department’s Ambassador at Large to Combat Human trafficking, says it has earned a reputation as a trade centre for prostitution and pimping.
Recruitment is through young boys who offer a bright future to innocent girls and trick them into prostitution. Karla came from a dysfunctional family. She was abused sexually from the age of 5 by a relative and felt rejected by her mother. At the age of 12 she was trapped by a 22 year old trafficker who lured her away using kind words and a fast car when she was waiting for some friends near a subway station in Mexico City. Five minutes later she was talking to him. The man started telling her that he was also abused as a boy. He was also very affectionate and quite a gentleman.
They exchanged phone numbers and he called a week later to go on a trip to nearby Puebla with him and amazed her by coming in a bright red Firebird Trans Am.
It didn’t take long for him to convince her to go with him, especially when Karla’s mother shut her out one night for returning home too late. The following day she left with him and lived with him for three months during which he treated her royally with clothes, shoes, flowers, chocolates and a lot of attention.
But her boyfriend would leave her by herself for a week in their apartment. His cousins would show up with new girls every week and she learned that they were pimps. Soon he started ‘teaching’ her everything she had to do; the positions, the fees, the activities with the client and for how long, how she was to treat them and how she had to talk to them to extract more money.
It was the beginning of four years of hell. The first time she was forced to work as a prostitute she was taken to Guadalajara, one of Mexico’s largest cities where she started at 10 a.m. and finished at midnight at the least, twenty per day for a week. There were several other cities. She would be sent to brothels, roadside motels, streets known for prostitution and even homes. There were no holidays or days off and after the first few days, she was made to see at least 30 customers a day, seven days a week.
The traffickers inflicted severe punishment even when the idea of escaping crosses their mind. “He started beating me with a chain in all of my body. He punched me with his fists, he kicked me, pulled my hair, spit at me in the face and that day was when he also burned me with the iron. I told him I wanted to leave and he was accusing me of falling in love with a customer. He told me I like being a whore.”
One day, police showed up. They kicked out of all of the customers, Karla says and shut down the hotel. She thought it was her lucky day — a police operation to rescue her and the other girls. They were taken to several rooms and officers started shooting video of them in compromising positions. The girls were blackmailed even though they were minors some of whom were only 10 years old. She was 13 years old at the time.
Karla gave birth at 15 to a girl and the baby was taken away from her a month after the baby was born and she did not see the girl for more than a year. Karla Jacinto was finally rescued in 2008 during an anti-trafficking operation in Mexico City after four very long and tormenting years.
CNN independently verified portions of Karla’s story but corroborating everything Karla told was not possible.
At 23 years now, she has become an outspoken advocate against human trafficking, telling her story at conferences and public events. She told her story to Pope Francis in July at the Vatican. She also told the U.S. Congress in May.
Her message is that human trafficking and forced prostitution still happens and is a growing problem in our world. Doing nothing, she says, puts countless girls at risk of being appeased and yanked away from families and raped tens of thousands of times, just like she was.