News: Six sentenced in U.S.-Mexico sex-slave ring

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Subject: News: Six sentenced in U.S.-Mexico sex-slave ring
From: Melanie Orhant (
Date: Tue Apr 20 1999 - 10:18:05 EDT

Six sentenced in U.S.-Mexico sex-slave ring
By Kristina Stefanova

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., April 16 (Reuters) - Six illegal Mexican immigrants
were sentenced on Friday to up to 6-1/2 years in prison for running a
slavery ring that forced Mexican women to work in the United States as

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp sentenced the six, who all pleaded
guilty to conspiracy against the civil rights of at least 17 young women,
to sentences ranging from 2-1/2 years to 6-1/2 years.

Prosecutors said the six were involved in a smuggling ring run by the
Cadena family of Veracruz, Mexico, that lured women into the United States
with promises of jobs and opportunity, but sent them to work in brothels in
South Carolina and Florida, where they lived in brutal conditions.

Prosecutors said some of the women were beaten, raped and forced to undergo
abortions, while working as prostitutes until they had paid debts of up to
$3,000 for being smuggled into the country.

The brothels, largely in areas near migrant worker housing and camps, were
operated by "ticketeros" who collected fees and sold "tickets," usually in
the form of condoms, which were exchanged for sex, officials said. The
charge was usually $20, of which the women received $3.

"I never had a moment's rest. On the weekends, I would often have to see
around 32 or 34 men for 15 minutes each. I would get myself drunk before
the men arrived, so that I could stand the work," one of the women, who was
not identified, said in a letter to the judge.

The incidents occurred between August 1996 and February 1998.

Defense attorneys had sought leniency for the six men sentenced on Friday,
saying they had also had to pay debts to the ring's leaders after being
brought to the United States.

But prosecutors disagreed.

"These men chose to remain to not only repay their debts, but to make more
money and send it home. They saw how the world was," Luis Debaca, a U.S.
Justice Department attorney, told the court on Friday.

Ryskamp sentenced Jose Cuervas-Ataxsa and Felix Alvarado, described as
supervisors of the slave ring, to 78 months each.

He sentenced Martin Ambrosio-Herrera and Samuel Rodriguez-Hernandez to 57
months each, while Benito Xolot-Victorio and Francisco Diaz-Juarez were
each given 30 months.

All six were credited with the 17 months they have already spent behind
bars. As Mexican nationals, they face deportation after completing their
sentences, prosecutors said.

Oh April 2, Ryskamp sentenced Rogerio Francisco Cadena, 50, considered the
ringleader, to the maximum sentence of 15 years. He also awarded the
victims $1 million in restitution.

Eight other people charged in the case remain at large and are presumed to
be in Mexico.

Melanie Orhant

Human Trafficking Program
Global Survival Network

P.O. Box 73214
Washington, DC 20009
T: 387-0028
F: 387-2590

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