US breaks up sex trafficking ring

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 18 2013 08:26 AM | Updated as of Jan 18 2013 04:26 PM

WASHINGTON- US authorities arrested 12 people charged with bringing women from Mexico and Nicaragua into the United States and forcing them to work as prostitutes, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Eleven women were rescued from the traffickers and 44 other people were detained for questioning, said a statement from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

The leader of the gang, identified as Joaquin Mendez Hernandez, was said to have brought women into the country with the promise of employment.

He would then threaten them and force them to work as prostitutes in several southeastern US states, the statement alleged.

In one case Mendez Hernandez threatened to send a Mexican woman back home unless she serviced 25 customers per day, according to the charge sheet read out in court in Savannah, Georgia.

"Few crimes so damage their victims and undermine basic human decency. Our fight against this evil must be relentless, both here and abroad," said ICE director John Morton.

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