Trafficking Family on America’s Most Wanted

The Cadena-Sosa family is high-profile trafficking family that was featured again on Amerca’s Most Wanted in late February:

According to the FBI, one of the most high-profile human trafficking operations around was masterminded by the Cadena-Sosa family. Agents say the key members of this operation included three brothers, their mother, their uncles, and one of their wives, Carmen Cadena. The FBI reports that Cadena is married to Juan Luis Cadena, a brother who ran one of the family brothels.

Before embarking on their alleged criminal enterprise, the Cadena-Sosa’s established their roots in the same small Mexican towns where they would target many of their future victims. The family later moved back and forth across the U.S. border and was perceived by their former neighbors to be wealthy and successful.

The FBI says that the Cadena-Sosa’s sent recruiters to Mexico to lure local girls and young women with promises of wealth and a better life. According to agents, these unsuspecting victims were led to believe that the Cadena-Sosa’s needed waitresses for their Florida restaurants or nannies to care for their children.

The girls were told that they would be treated like family — instead, the FBI says they were used like slaves, and forced to pay for the privilege.

Initially, the girls were told they owe would $2000 for being smuggled into the U.S, an amount which they would have to work off once they arrived. But they were told that they would be earning in excess of $400 a week, ten times what they were making in Mexico.

Lured by the promise of money and security, the girls were herded onto buses to a border town, where they were then taken secretly across the border. Once they were in the States, however, the truth about their situation quickly came to light.

These once-innocent victims worked six days a week and were forced to have sex with as many as 30 men a day.

When the young women arrived in Texas, agents say they were picked up in a van driven by members of the Cadena-Sosa family, who would ask them for their measurements and buy them lingerie. Then the unsuspecting immigrants were taken to trailer homes and ramshackle houses that served as brothels, where they were essentially kept prisoner and forced into prostitution.

These once-innocent victims worked six days a week and were forced to have sex with as many as 30 men a day. Each customer paid $20, but little of this cash ever found its way to the girls. They were told that part of their wages was being put toward the money they owed for coming to the U.S., and yet their debts never seemed to get any smaller.

But that was only part of the horror of life in the brothels. Agents say the Cadena-Sosa brothers would sometimes rape and beat these young women to help break their spirits. At times, the guards who were supposedly keeping order also forced themselves on the girls, according to the FBI — and if a woman became pregnant, she was forced to have an abortion and put back to work immediately.

To keep their charges in line, the Cadena-Sosa’s allegedly made threats against them — and against their families back home. Victims report that Carmen Cadena was one of the brothel operators, and they say they lived in fear of her.

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