According to the Department of Justice, nice people were charged by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on Wednesday for sex trafficking that involved minors.
The sex trafficking ring involved a scheme where people would be smuggled into the United States illegally from Guatemala, promising them the American dream. In return, the illegals would have to pay the smuggler back by taking part in prostitution to pay for smuggling costs.
This recent case involved six Guatemalan family members, as well as three other people whom work with them. Promoting young women from Guatemala, as young as thirteen, to come to the United States for promised higher-paying jobs, these smugglers would then threaten and beat the victims into working as prostitutes.
“The crimes alleged in this case involve the exploitation for personal gain of young girls rendered vulnerable by their age and desire for a better life,” said U.S. Attorney George S. Cardona. “The defendants played on these vulnerabilities to operate a highly organized trafficking ring in the very heart of Los Angeles for several years, counting on their victims’ fears to prevent their discovery. We hope these charges address these fears by demonstrating that, with the help of the Human Trafficking task force that has been established here in Los Angeles, we will work quickly to protect those who step forward to reveal such rings, and will prosecute those responsible.”
According to the federal grand jury out of Los Angeles that handled the case yesterday, August 8th 2007, charges on these members of this sex -trafficking ring include importing and harboring aliens for purposes of prostitution, sex trafficking of minors, violations of the Mann Act, fraud of coercion, as well as sex trafficking by force. In all there were 50 counts. This case involved a total of 12 victims, and sadly, five of these victims were minors.
Those charged in court include Gladys Vasquez Valenzuela, Mirna Jeanneth Vasquez Valenzuela, Maria De Los Angeles Vicente,Albertina Vasquez Valenzuela,Gabriel Mendez,Luis Vicente Vasquez, Pablo Bonifacio,Flor Morales Sanchez, and Maribel Rodriguez Vasquez.
“The defendants in this case are accused of dreadful crimes including luring desperate women to the U.S. with false promises only to enrich themselves by forcing their victims into prostitution and slavery. The FBI and our partners with the Human Trafficking Task Force in Los Angeles are dedicated to finding victims of human trafficking, who endure horrific abuse under appalling conditions, and to finding those responsible for their suffering,” said J. Stephen Tidwell, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Office.
This investigation all began in October of 2006 when an unidentified source contacted police about what was going on.
U.S. Department of Justice