News: Immigrant pleads guilty in Mexican sex-slave ring

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Subject: News: Immigrant pleads guilty in Mexican sex-slave ring
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Jan 20 1999 - 14:06:06 EST


Immigrant pleads guilty in Mexican sex-slave ring

MIAMI, Jan 15 (Reuters) - An illegal immigrant from Mexico pleaded guilty
on Friday to charges he headed a group that smuggled at least 23 young
Mexican women into the United States and forced them to work as
prostitutes, federal prosecutors said.

Rogerio Francisco Cadena, 50, from Veracruz, Mexico, was arrested in Fort
Myers, Florida, in February 1998.

In a hearing before a federal judge in West Palm Beach, Florida, he pleaded
guilty to conspiring to violate the victims' civil rights and using a gun
to commit a crime.

Cadena, who faces up to 15 years in prison, acknowledged in a plea
agreement that he headed a family group that smuggled the girls and women
into the United States and forced them to work as prostitutes at family-run
brothels in five Florida cities.

The women were locked in windowless rooms and given no money for expenses,
conditions that a civil rights official described as ``modern-day
slavery.'' Court documents said they were forced to work until they had
paid a smuggling fee of about $2,000.

Cadena acknowledged that the group threatened reprisals against the women's
families back in Mexico if they tried to escape. Prosecutors said several
who did were hunted down and returned to the brothels, where they were
confined and beaten.

``As we enter the 21st century, we must redouble our efforts against these
barbaric practices,'' Bill Lann Lee, acting assistant attorney general for
civil rights, said in a statement released by the U.S. Justice Department.

Fifteen people were indicted in the case, including three of Cadena's
nephews. Six of them have pleaded guilty and a seventh is jailed on murder
charges stemming from a shooting at one of the Cadena family's homes in
Florida.

Melanie Orhant

Co-Director
Human Trafficking Program
Global Survival Network

P.O. Box 73214
Washington, DC 20009
T: 387-0028
F: 387-2590
Email: morhant@igc.org
www.globalsurvival.net


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