In a horrifying revelation exposing the brutal realities of human trafficking, a victim in Mexico City has revealed she was raped 43,200 times as per her own estimate.
“Up to 30 men a day, seven days a week, for the best part of four years — 43,200,” Karla Jacinto was quoted as saying by CNN.
Forced into prostitution by human traffickers at the young age of 12, Jacinto says she was abused for as long as she can remember. Coming from a dysfunctional family, Jacinto recalled, “I was sexually abused and mistreated from the age of 5 by a relative.”
When she was 12, Jacinto was targeted by a trafficker, a 22-year-old man, who lured her to leave with him using kind words and a fast car. Having struck a friendship with him, it didn’t take Jacinto long to run away with the 22-year-old especially after her mother didn’t open the door to her one night when she came home a little 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,” Jacinto said.
But it was not what it seemed. Soon after she learned what he really did when his cousins began showing up in his apartment with different girls each week. “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,” she said.
And so began four years of hell for the young girl. “I started at 10am 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,” Jacinto said.
She would be sent to brothels, roadside motels, streets known for prostitution and even homes in several different cities. After a few weeks, the number of customers rose to 30 a day with no days off.
Jacinto recounted how she was attacked by her trafficker after a client 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.”
And then one day, when Jacinto was 13 years old police raided a hotel which was known for prostitution and threw out all the customers. She thought it was her lucky day but she soon discovered it was otherwise.
The police shot videos of the girls, some of whom were as young 10, in compromising positions and threatened them to do as they were told or their videos would be sent to their families.
“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,” Jacinto said.
In her nightmare world even a pregnancy was cause for horror not joy. Jacinto gave birth to a girl at 15 but the baby was fathered by the trafficker who threatened her to fulfill his every wish or he would either harm or kill the baby. To add to the horror, he took the baby away from Jacinto a month after the birth and returned her when she was more than a year old.
Jacinto remained in this hell for four years before she was rescued in 2008at the age of 16 during an anti-trafficking operation in Mexico City.
At 23, Jacinto has become an outspoken advocate against human trafficking, recounting her experiences at conferences and public events. She even retold her story to the US Congress in May and met Pope Francis in July at the Vatican.
Her testimony was used as evidence in support for Megan’s Law that mandates US authorities to share information pertaining to American child sex offenders when these convicts attempt to travel abroad.
Her message to the world, “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.”
“Doing nothing puts countless girls at risk of being trafficked for years and raped tens of thousands of times, just like I was,” she said.