She testifies in federal court how a group of immigrants duped her into coming to the U.S., forced her to sell herself and kept her captive.
When Sandra agreed to make the perilous trek from her native Guatemala to the United States in 2006, she said, she was lured by the prospect of a job as a housekeeper that would enable her to send money to her impoverished family back home.
Her father had a hernia that prevented him from working, and money was so tight that she and her 12 siblings sometimes didn’t have shoes or enough to eat, the young woman testified Thursday in federal court in Los Angeles.
But not long after Sandra was delivered to L.A. by human-smuggling “coyotes,” she learned that the job awaiting her had nothing to do with cleaning houses.
“Did you understand you were going to be working as a prostitute?” asked Assistant U.S. Atty. Cheryl Murphy.
“I did not know what that word was,” Sandra responded through a Spanish-language translator. “Now I do.”