'They kill you, they kidnap you, they rape you': Trafficking victims speak of the dangers they face
Victims of human trafficking in Mexico, many of them migrants, are among the thousands trafficked worldwide every year for sex work or forced labor.
The young woman, 15, left Tegucigalpa, Honduras in early March to come to the U.S. Her aunt, who lives in Florida, had paid a "coyote" $4,000 to cross her into U.S. territory.
But after journeying several weeks, the smuggler left her lying on a street in the Mexican state of Puebla.
There, what she thought was an offer from a man to work at a restaurant as a waitress turned out to be a ruse from a human trafficking network. “They put me as a sex worker. There were several people who controlled me a lot, the clients even hit me. It was horrible," she said of her ordeal, which lasted several weeks. She managed to run away one day she was being taken to a hotel room.
Her story and that of other victims who spoke to Noticias Telemundo — their names are being withheld for fear of reprisals —illustrate the experiences of the approximately 50,000 people that are trafficked every year across 148 countries, according to the United Nations latest biannual report.
More than 60% of human trafficking victims in the last 15 years have been women and girls, and most have been trafficked for sexual exploitation, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).