NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Four Mexican sex traffickers were arraigned on Monday, the same day a victim and her child were reunited, United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch announced.
“As alleged, the defendants lured young women into the world’s oldest profession using the world’s oldest ruse – the promise of a committed relationship and a better life,” Lynch said. “Once here in the United States, the women were cut off from their families and kept dependent on the traffickers, whose promises of love soon turned to lies, beatings and threats to the victims’ families in order to maintain their hold over them.”
Benito Lopez-Perez, 32, and Anastasio Romero-Perez, 39, were both arraigned in Brooklyn after their extradition. They face charges of sex trafficking, interstate prostitution, alien smuggling and more. They allegedly lured three girls, aged 14 and 15, into relationships by “false promises of romance and marriage,” authorities said.
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The victims were allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted and forced to work as prostitutes. Once smuggled into New York, the prostitutes were advertised with so-called “Chica Cards” handed out on the street.
The two join Jose Gabino Barrientos-Perez, 51, who was previously arraigned on the same charges.
Separately, Lynch announced the extradition of another sex trafficking suspect, 37-year-old Antonio Lira-Robles, who had been charged in Brooklyn back in November. Lira-Robles faces 15 years to life in prison is convicted.
More than 50 people have been indicted, including the four extradited from Mexico. More than 100 women have been rescued, including 17 minors.
As for the reunified family, Lynch said the child was being held by members of the trafficking ring. The child’s father was convicted in 2005 on several sex trafficking charges.
“The sex trafficking of young girls and women is modern-day slavery,” Lynch said. “We will do everything in our power to eradicate it.”