Karla Jacinto believes she has been raped around 43,200 times after being forced to sleep with at least 30 men every day for 4 years, CNN reports. At 12, she recalls being targeted by a trafficker who lured her away from a dysfunctional home life with gifts, money and fast cars.
The 22-year-old trafficker convinced Ms Jacinto to leave with him to Tenancingo, a Mexican town in the state of Tlaxcala, known as a major centre for human trafficking rings and a common place for victims to be taken before being forced into prostitution.
Ms Jacinto told CNN she lived with her trafficker for three months before being taken to Guadalajara, one of Mexico’s largest cities, where she was forced to work as a prostitute.
“I started at 10 am and finished at midnight,” said Ms Jacinto, “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.”
During her ordeal Ms Jacinto was attacked by her trafficker after he saw kiss marks on her neck from a customer. “He started beating me with a chain in all of my body,” said Ms Jacinto. “He punched me with his fists, he kicked me, pulled my hair, spit at me in the face… he also burned me with the iron.”
She also claims a police operation to rescue her and a group of girls being held at a hotel descended into horror when the officers began filming the girls, some as young as 10, in compromising positions.
There are an estimated 20,000 trafficking victims in Mexico every year, according to the International Organisation for Migration. In the US, five of the 10 “most wanted” sex traffickers are from Tenancingo, which has a population of just 11,000.
According to a 2010 University of Tlaxcala study, one in five children in the town aspires to be a pimp, while two-thirds know at least one relative or friend working as a pimp or trafficker, The Guardian reports.
Ms Jacinto was rescued in 2006 during an anti-trafficking operation in Mexico City. Now aged 23, she is an advocate against human trafficking. CNN have verified parts of Ms Jacinto’s story with the United Against Human Trafficking Group and senior officials at Road to Home, a shelter Ms Jacinto lived in after being rescued. Her testimony has been used as evidence to support HR 515, or Megan’s Law, which requires US authorities to make information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders.