In one of the worst cases of human trafficking, a survivor from Mexico has told CNN how she was raped 43 200 times after falling into the hands of traffickers.
Karla Jacinto said she was forced to sleep with 30 men a day, seven days a week, for the best part of four years.
Karla says she was abused for as long as she can remember and felt rejected by her mother. “I came from a dysfunctional family. I was sexually abused and mistreated from the age of 5 by a relative,’ she says.
When she was 12 she was targeted by a trafficker who lured her away using kind words and a fast car.
She says she was waiting for some friends near a subway station in Mexico City, when a little boy selling sweets came up to her, telling her somebody was sending her a piece of candy as a gift.
Five minutes later, Karla says, an older man was talking to her, telling her that he was a used car salesman.
The initial awkwardness disappeared as soon as the man started telling her that he was also abused as a boy. He was also very affectionate and quite a gentleman, she says.
They exchanged phone numbers and when he called a week later, Karla says she got excited. He asked her to go on a trip to nearby Puebla with him and dazzled her by showing up driving a bright red Firebird Trans Am.
“When I saw the car I couldn’t believe it. I was very impressed by such a big car. It was exciting for me. He asked me to get in the car to go places,” she says.
‘Red flags’ were everywhere
It didn’t take long for the man, who at 22 was 10 years older than Karla, to convince her to leave with him, especially after Karla’s mother didn’t open the door one night when she came home a little too late.
“The following day I left with him. I lived with him for three months during which he treated me very well. He loved on me, he bought me clothes, gave me attention, bought me shoes, flowers, chocolates, everything was beautiful,” Karla says.
But there were red flags everywhere also.
Karla says her boyfriend would leave her by herself for a week in their apartment. His cousins would show up with new girls every week. When she finally mustered the courage to ask what business they were in, he told her the truth. “They’re pimps,” he said.
“A few days later 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 says.
Four years of hell
It was the beginning of four years of hell. The first time she was forced to work as a prostitute she was taken to Guadalajara, one of Mexico’s largest cities.
“I started at 10 a.m. and finished at midnight. We were in Guadalajara for a week. Do the math. Twenty per day for a week. 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.