A victim of human trafficking, 16-year-old Karla Jacinto told CNN she was raped at least 43,200. By her own estimate, she was raped by up to 30 men a day, seven days a week, for the best part of four years with now down time or holiday.
She has told her story to the U.S. Congress to get changes in the law, and to the pope. Her story highlights the brutal realities of human trafficking in Mexico and the United States, an underworld that has destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of Mexican girls.
A Mexican town called Tenancingo is notorious for being the infamous breeding ground for pimps like the 22-year-old guy who lured Karla at age 12 with sweets and a fast red car – away from an uncaring mother and an abused childhood that started since age 5.
“That’s what the town (Tenancingo) does. That is their industry,” Susan Coppedge, the U.S. State Department’s Ambassador at Large to Combat Human trafficking, says. “And yet in smaller, rural communities the young girls don’t have any idea that this is what the town’s reputation is, so they are not suspicious of the men who come from there. They think they have got a great future with this person. They think they love and it is the same story of recruitment every time.”
For three months, Karla’s boyfriend had free sex with his runaway juvenile and in exchange bought cheap things that bewildered. Then things changed.
“He started telling me everything I had to do; the positions, how much I need to charge, the things I had to do with the client and for how long, how I was to treat them and how I had to talk to them so that they would give me more money,” Karla told CNN.
It was four years of hell for her. She prostituted for him on the streets, in brothels, motels, even homes. She was made to see at least 30 customers a day, seven days a week. There were no holidays or days off.
“I started at 10 a.m. and finished at midnight. Some men would laugh at me because I was crying. I had to close my eyes so that that I wouldn’t see what they were doing to me, so that I wouldn’t feel anything,” Karla says.
She also revealed how some Mexican policemen raided a brothel she was slaving at and shut it down. Rather than save her and the other child sex slaves, the cops raped them too.
Karla is now 23 years old. 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 testimony was used as evidence in support for H.R. 515 or Megan’s Law that mandates U.S. authorities share information pertaining to American child sex offenders when these convicts attempt to travel abroad.
Her message is that human trafficking and forced prostitution still happens and is a growing problem in the world.