Promise of a better life leads to the nightmare of sexual slavery
CNN: "According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations agency that monitors employment, standards, and social protection issues, there are about 12.3 million victims of human trafficking around the world." Many of those women are from Mexico and Central America.
"Across Mexico, young girls dream of escaping their small towns for the big cities. They dream of a good job and a better life in the United States. That was the case of 'Claudia,' a name given to protect her identity. Her dream of a better life quickly evolved into a nightmare. When she was 15, she met a charming man at a party who would later become her boyfriend. 'This individual would tell me a lot about the United States and would ask me to join him to go work at a clothes factory,' she said. Claudia was eventually smuggled into the United States and taken to New York City. Once there, she soon realized her boyfriend was part of a prostitution ring. He forced her into prostitution. She says he would beat her up, burn her with lit cigarettes and tell her he would have her parents in Mexico killed if she tried to resist or escape.
Many people associate prostitution with women walking the streets in shady areas and being picked up by johns. But Claudia says the prostitution ring for which she was forced to work had a long list of clients who knew the price they had to pay, who to call and where to go. It's a well-organized and lucrative underground industry. Luis CdeBaca monitors human trafficking at the U.S. State Department. He says there are no reliable figures on the scale of the problem, but forced prostitution from Mexico and Central America is a big part of it. 'They know that their victims are not going to go to law enforcement," said CdeBaca. "They know that their victims are afraid. In fact, sometimes one of their threats is to turn people over to the immigration service.'"