Mexican authorities have rescued 74 women held prisoner and forced into sexual slavery by captors who made them work at a strip club and as prostitutes, prosecutors said.
Weekend raids in the nation’s capital freed 27 Mexicans and 19 foreigners at the Cadillac High Class strip club. A second bust, which occurred after a six-month investigation, liberated 28 women pushed into prostitution in hotels, parking lots and on the streets, officials reported Monday.
Federal police detained 40 people in the Cadillac crackdown and have so far charged 14 of them with human trafficking for sexual exploitation, according to Mexico City prosecutors. Table-top dances, say web posts from customers, go for 200 pesos, or about $16.
In the other raid, Mexico City District Attorney Miguel Mancerra told reporters that federales nabbed 26 suspects in and around a downtown hotel who allegedly ran four prostitution rings. Enforcers demanded the victims, one them a minor, hand over daily payments ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 pesos ( $230 to $384), amounts that constitute huge sums in a country ravaged by poverty.
The Cadillac High Class strip club in Mexico City, where federal police rescued 27 Mexican women and 19 foreigners in a sex-slave bust.
If they didn’t pay up, the victims were dumped, without food, in unfamiliar neighborhoods, Mancerra said. Authorities did not reveal the nationalities of the foreign victims, or whether the suspects were connected to narcotics cartels.
Human trafficking is a booming criminal business in Mexico, second only to drug smuggling.
Congresswoman Rosi Orozco, head of Mexico’s Special Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons, has said 800,000 adults and 20,000 children are sold each year for sexual abuse in a black market that pulls in annual revenue as high as $30 billion.
In 2011, then-President Felipe Calderon signed ammendments to the country’s constitution making human trafficking a federal crime carrying prison sentences of up to 40 years.
Mexican authorities say they have freed 46 women forced into sexual slavery at a strip club in the nation’s capital.
The increased penalties were designed to battle dramatic increases in kidnapping and enslaving ordinary people, many of them migrants trying to reach the United States, by organized crime syndicates reporting to Mexico’s massive and malevolent drug cartels.
President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in December 2012, has continued the fight. Last month, soldiers rescued 165 people kidnapped by narcotics smugglers and imprisoned for as long as three weeks in a one-story home alongside the Texas border.
It was one of the biggest kidnapping busts in Mexican history.