April 24, 2015 – Federal Jury Convicts Sex Trafficking Ring Leader (Houston, TX)

Click to read story: FBI — Federal Jury Convicts Sex Trafficking Ring Leader

This case is on-going but contains several elements I believe are important for those following on our Training Blog.

This is a large ring of perpetrators involving 12 rescued victims.  Most likely there are upwards of a hundred victims or more as this was a sophisticated ring and has been operating for at least six years.  However, this is a legal proceeding so we are dealing with victims that are identifiable and with evidence to the case.

tenchaNOTE: The primary perpetrator here is a 71 year old woman (Tencha)…… be not deceived by expecting young gang members.  She ran a brothel  above the cantina that she operated in Houston. Her victims were forced to engage in sex with the customers.

However I do believe it is important to note that the rest of the ring involved in this included some Tencha  family members and included both men and women aging in ranges from 27 to 66 and all were Mexican citizens illegally residing in the US.

It is estimated that Tencha  made $1.6 MILLION in 19 months.  That tells us that there were more than 12 victims.   This is an important point.  I think some may think I exaggerate that a pimp can be worth more than one million dollars.  But according to this article, ONE WOMAN made $1.6 million from her brothel…… surely the others did not work for free. Pimps, gangs and cartels do this because it is BIG money.

Here are important points to take away:

1. Some of the victims were adults and were willing to testify to the ordeal they went through. That tells me it was horrific as many will NOT testify out of fear.

2. They were often beaten by their pimps and “Tencha”  would have been aware of it.

3.  They were recruited by convincing them they were in love (Romeo pimping) or making threats to their families and threatening the girl herself (Gorilla Pimping).  Many appeared to be recruited IN Mexico and brought here but that is not clear.

3. One victim was forced to engage in sex at 14 after coming to the US in search of a better life.

4.  The victim was forced to comply with demands at gunpoint and locked in a room. (please visualize the reality of this.  Only 14, a girl from a foreign country, at gun point with an older woman leader…….where do you go for help?  who do you trust? How do you get free?)

5.   She was impregnated by a customer.  Note:  often the pimp or a customer will get a girl pregnant and this becomes a lifetime mental prison as the girl is forced into forever prostitution to either feed her child or work to get her child out of the “System”.  This is particularly brutal as these girls are no longer coerced with friendship and sweet talk but become entwined in a cycle of permanent slavery.  (Gorilla Pimping).

6. They were able to get extended sentencing to this case by adding  other charges:

harbor aliens, aiding and abetting to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. She could possibly get life in prison.

7.  CHECK THIS OUT.  There are 15 real properties and other assets for a value of about $2.5 that could be part of a Asset Forfeiture proceeds.  It is UNUSUAL for a perpetrator to operate brothels in property they own for this very reason.  They prefer rental properties so they are not confiscated.  The asset forfeiture program right now is under scrutiny by the US Dept of Justice.  These funds will go a long ways towards combating sex trafficking and assisting other these and other victims.

Tencha is the 14th defendant to have been convicted.  13 others plead guilty, two remain at large.

GREAT JOB BY LAW ENFORCEMENT, FBI, U.S. ATTORNEY OFFICE AND THE VICTIM SERVICES PROVIDER!

opal

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