Sex Slaves Next Door
Sex slaves next door...
Cristina was just 24 years-old, living in a rural farming village in Mexico, when Amador Cortes-Meza told her he was falling in love with her. He promised her marriage and a good job, and then brought her to the United States. But when she arrived in the Atlanta area, he physically abused her and forced her to work as a prostitute.
“That's when I realized he was not telling me the truth,” said Cristina (not her real name). “A man who loves a woman would not make them do that. I lived under his humiliation, I lived under the beatings, under the fear, there was nothing I could do.”
She is an example of an insidious form of slavery spreading across the United States – prostitution operations that traffic in women and children from Latin America.
In these operations, “closed-network” houses of prostitution cater to customers of a specific race or ethnicity, in this case, Hispanic women and Hispanic customers. One nonprofit anti-trafficking group labels them Latino Residential Brothels, or LRBs.
What separates them from other sex-trafficking operations, experts say, is their sophisticated camouflage and adherence to a simple business plan, used from coast to coast with cold efficiency. The operators set up shop in average neighborhoods and use coded advertisements and word of mouth to attract specific customers.
An underground growth industry
The Latino brothels rely on what amounts to slavery. Women and, in some cases, girls held captive, denied choice, denied freedom of movement, denied dignity, their bodies sold by someone else for sex.