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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jacksonville Woman Indicted For Alien Smuggling, Labor Trafficking, And Sex Trafficking Crimes

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the return of an indictment charging Esthela M. Clark (46, Jacksonville) with alien smuggling, labor trafficking, and sex trafficking offenses. If convicted on all counts, she faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison. The indictment also notifies Clark that the United States intends to forfeit two motor vehicles, which are alleged to have been used in the offenses.

According to court documents, Clark fraudulently induced a young woman from Mexico to travel illegally to the United States under the fraudulent promise and pretense that the woman would be paid to be a surrogate mother as part of a medically supervised and lawful surrogate pregnancy. After smuggling the woman into the United States, Clark began attempting various non-medical inseminations of the woman with the semen of Clark’s boyfriend and others.  Clark performed these inseminations using a household syringe on the dining room floor of her residence. Once those efforts failed, Clark forced the victim to have sex with two strangers through threats of force and coercion. Shortly after the woman had arrived in the United States, Clark isolated her and confiscated her official forms of identification.  For more than two years, Clark used force, threats of force, and also threatened abuse of the legal process to keep the woman in a perpetual state of involuntary servitude and forced labor. A concerned citizen rescued the young woman and contacted law enforcement.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless,  and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Border Patrol. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mac D. Heavener, III.

Topic(s): 
Human Smuggling
Human Trafficking
Immigration
Component(s): 
Updated February 4, 2016