uman trafficking has always been a horrific trade that has destroyed lives and families. Unsuspecting people become victims of it and the cruelties on them is unbelievably atrocious.
While some give up and accept their fates, and some give up on their lives completely, one girl from Mexico City is sharing her story in the hopes that it will bring about a change in the lives of other trafficking victims and to raise awareness for the destructive yet prevalent business.
Karla Jacinto is now 23 and wants to share her story in the hopes that others don’t have to face the same fate as she did.
‘43,200 times’, she is close to breaking down when she recalls the estimated number of times she was raped.
Mistreated as a child
Karla said she was abused since the time she can remember and talked about how her mother left her and made her feel neglected. “I came from a dysfunctional family. I was sexually abused and mistreated from the age of 5 by a relative,’ she said.
When she was 12, a trafficker who was then 22, approached her and tried to lure her by being nice and the promise of a better life, a very common trick used by traffickers like these. He invited her to nearby Puebla and ‘dazzled her by showing up driving a bright red Firebird Trans Am’.
Impressed by the car, and the promise of a good life, it didn’t take long for the trafficker to convince her to leave with him. In the 3 months duration that she lived with him, he pampered her and gave her all the comforts promised.
‘He loved me, he bought me clothes, gave me attention, bought me shoes, flowers, chocolates, everything was beautiful’.
How it started
Soon after, her ‘boyfriend’ started leaving her alone in the apartment and his cousins started showing up with new girls every week. When she finally mustered the courage to ask him about his business, she was bluntly told that they were ‘pimps’.
It didn’t take her long to realize the trap she had landed herself in and soon her trafficker started instructing her.
‘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’ says Karla.
Then began the 4 years of torture
Karla’s life changed and the worst of it began. The first time she worked as a prostitute, she was taken to one of Mexico’s largest city – Guadalajara.
‘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’, says Karla.
After that, she went to many cities, brothels, motels, and even homes. Obviously, she had no holidays, days off or any sort of breaks, and after the initial few days she had to see to 30 customers in a day. 30×7. It is distressing even to think about it.
Soon her trafficker started attacking her, and it all started when a customer gave her a hickey.
‘He started beating me with a chain in all of my body. He punched me with his fists, he kicked me, pulled my hair, spit at me in the face, and that day was when he also burned me with the iron. I told him I wanted to leave and he was accusing me of falling in love with a customer. He told me I like being a whore.’
The police raid that did nothing
One day, a police raid took place in a hotel Karla was working in and she thought she was saved. Until the police showed they were least interested in saving them. They shut down the hotel, took the girls to different rooms, shot videos of them in compromising positions, and threatened to send these videos to their families if they didn’t cooperate.
‘I thought they were disgusting. They knew we were minors. We were not even developed. We had sad faces. There were girls who were only 10 years old. There were girls who were crying. They told the officers they were minors and nobody paid attention,’ says Karla
Childbirth at 15
If something could go worse for Karla, it did. When she was 15, she gave birth to a baby girl, who was fathered by her trafficker, but more than caring for or looking after his daughter, the trafficker used her as a leverage to make Karla work. If Karla refused to cooperate, her daughter’s life would be in danger and her pimp even threatened to kill the baby. Her baby was ultimately taken away from her, and she wasn’t allowed to see her own daughter until she was more than a year old.
She now strongly advocates against human trafficking and tries to make people as aware about it as possible. Her message is loud and clear – nobody should have to endure what she did.
‘These minors are being abducted, lured, and yanked away from their families. Don’t just listen to me. You need to learn about what happened to me and take the blindfold off your eyes.’