Authorities describe how they shut down a Texas sex slave and human trafficking operation Notorious alleged pimp Alfonso "Poncho" Diaz-Juarez remains on the run CNN Esperanza was waiting for her cousins outside her high school in Mexico one day, when a strange man drove up in a car, forced her inside with him and sped away. At that moment, Esperanza had in effect become a sex slave.
A few times Esperanza tried — and failed — to escape, but she said Poncho, now age 47, always tracked her down, and then beat her. Eventually, Esperanza realized she was pregnant. Three months later, she said Poncho drove her across the Mexican-US border and on to Houston, Texas, where he forced her to work in a cantina called La Costenita. Read More She gave birth to a baby girl, but Poncho took the infant away as insurance that Esperanza would keep working as a sex slave and wouldn't escape.
Alfonso Diaz Juarez is accused of human trafficking in a Houston-area prostitution sting. I didn't want anything to happen to her. The site says more than 2, sex trafficking cases have been reported in the US this year alone, most of them in California. Texas ranks as the nation's number-two sex trafficking state, on the website. A 'crime that happens in third world countries' For the uninitiated, it's hard to imagine that thousands of young people — overwhelmingly women — have been kidnapped in Mexico or elsewhere and taken against their will to the United States, where they serve as sex slaves.
How to help sex trafficking victims Texas authorities first met Esperanza when they raided La Costenita in She started telling us her story: The child was safe.
America's human trafficking 'hubs' Pimps will often lure women from Mexico across the border to the US by promising them better lives, perhaps a better job, Alvarez said. These pimps may get help from people the women already know and trust, like a neighbor. Once they're kidnapped, these women are no longer viewed as people in the eyes of their handlers.
They've been reduced to a commodity that can be bought and sold repeatedly in an open market. In the United States, Houston has become one of those markets. Why Atlanta is a US hub for sex trafficking 'One of the most violent pimps' After the kidnapped women are brought into the US, the beatings begin as a way to keep them from trying to escape. Their captors threaten to hurt family members.
Pimps use fear to keep their sex slaves in bondage. He would threaten me, tell me if I talked to anyone that he would hurt my family. Laura recalls one night when she counted 70 women working. We each had to tend to 30 clients a night. Coincidentally, as a cautionary move, Tencha had distanced herself from Las Palmas by leasing it to Diaz-Juarez. When police found out, they arrested him on a previous warrant. Diaz-Juarez pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors that led to his release several months later.
Poncho was back on the loose. Following the money Authorities continued to gather evidence in the big sex trafficking case. The IRS began following the money, reviewing bank statements, locating assets.
When it was time for police to move in and raid Las Palmas, 13 people were arrested. Diaz-Juarez wasn't among them. Prosecutors charged Tencha with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, one count of conspiracy to harbor aliens, three counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to money launder. Tencha pleaded not guilty. Anger triggers testimony When Tencha began crying in front of the judge, saying she was innocent and she had no idea what was going on, it stirred something inside the freed women who once worked for her.
They began to get angry. One by one they decided to take the stand and testify against their former captor. Despite the legal victory against Tencha, authorities are disturbed by the fact that Diaz-Juarez remains free. Laura, who still fears Poncho, admits she'll "feel safer when he is captured. There aren't any words to describe what a terrible person he is.