WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cristina Andres
Perfecto, of Nashville, Tenn., pleaded guilty today to two counts of
commercial sex trafficking related to her role in a Memphis trafficking
ring. Perfecto admitted that she recruited two Mexican girls to come to the
United States under fraudulent pretenses, knowing that the girls would be
coerced into engaging in commercial sex acts and knowing that the victims
were younger than 18 years of age. She faces a maximum sentence of life in
prison for her crimes.
At her plea hearing, Perfecto admitted that she told the girls, who
were 13 and 17 years of age at the time, that they would be employed at a
restaurant in Nashville, knowing all along that the girls would be coerced
to engage in prostitution in brothels in Memphis and Nashville. Perfecto
further admitted that co-defendant Juan Mendez then used physical force and
threats against the victims and their families to force the victims to
engage in prostitution. Perfecto also admitted that she instructed the
girls on how to engage in commercial sexual acts.
"The victims in this case were thrust into the brutal and demeaning
world of human trafficking, fed lies, and treated as modern-day slaves,"
said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
"The Justice Department is committed to the vigorous enforcement and
prosecution of human trafficking offenses."
Juan Mendez remains under indictment for two counts of child sex
trafficking and one count of conspiracy to harbor an illegal alien. If
convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of up to life in prison. All
defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable
Nine other defendants in the same case pleaded guilty earlier in the
month to crimes including child sex trafficking, conspiracy to launder
money, enticing an individual to travel in interstate commerce to commit
prostitution, and failure to file a factual statement about an alien.
Human trafficking prosecutions are a top priority of the Department. In
the last six fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with
U.S. Attorneys' Offices, has increased by six-fold the number of human
trafficking cases filed in court, quadrupled the number of defendants
charged, and tripled the number of defendants convicted. In 2006, the
Department obtained a record number of convictions in human trafficking
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Parker of the U.S. Attorney's Office for
the Western District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Jonathan Skrmetti from
the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice are prosecuting the
case. The investigation in this matter is being conducted by ICE and the
FBI. World Relief, Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, and the YWCA
have assisted the victims and witnesses in this matter.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice