MIAMI – The Justice Department announced today that two Mexican nationals, Israel Cortes-Morales, 31, and Alberto Cortes-Castro, 30, pleaded guilty in federal district court in Miami to charges of conspiring to commit sex trafficking of Mexican women.
According to the information presented in court, from 1999 through December 2010, the defendants forced multiple victims from Mexico to engage in prostitution in the United States for the defendant’s financial benefit.
With false promises of a better life, legitimate employment and marriage, the defendants lured victims from their homes in Mexico, knowing that they would actually force the women to be prostitutes here. The victims were compelled, through threats, psychological coercion and other means, to work within a prostitution circuit that spanned the east coast of the United States, including Miami.
“Human trafficking of this kind deprives its victims of their freedom and dignity, and will not be tolerated in this country. We will aggressively prosecute any individual who exploits others in this way for their own personal gain,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 28, 2011. The case against a third defendant, Ernesto Cortes-Castro, 25, remains pending.
Earlier this year, Mexican authorities successfully prosecuted a third defendant, Jorge Velasquez, 24, for his role in the sex trafficking conspiracy. Velasquez was sentenced in Mexico to 18 years and three months in prison. Mexico prosecuted Velasquez along with three other Mexican traffickers.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marlene Rodriquez and Roy Altman, and Benjamin Hawk, Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Divisions Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.