A Florida woman is facing 20 years in jail after pleading guilty to federal charges of forced labor. She was accused of paying $3,000 to have a Mexican woman smuggled into the U.S. She then held the Mexican woman captive as a slave and tried to impregnate her by using syringes containing her boyfriend’s sperm.
People magazine reported that court documents show that the Florida woman, identified as Esthela Clark, 47, pleaded guilty to a single count of forced labor during a hearing in federal court on Monday morning.
Clark was originally indicted in 2015 on charges of human trafficking after the victim had said Clark forced her to have sex with many men. But the charges were later dropped as part of a plea deal, according to WJAX.
The document revealed that Clark, a native of Jacksonville, paid “coyotes” $3,000 in 2012 to smuggle a 22-year-old woman across the U.S.-Mexico border. Clark promised to pay the smuggled Mexican woman $4,000 if she served as a surrogate for her and her boyfriend.
According to the court documents obtained by People magazine, Clark had assured the Mexican woman that the process of inseminating and impregnating her would be conducted under the supervision of medical professionals. But there is no evidence that Clark ever attempted to procure the services of medical professionals. Instead, she engaged in crude attempts to impregnate the victim by using a syringe to inject her boyfriend’s sperm.
The victim, whose name and identity were withheld in court documents, told federal investigators that Clark forbade her to leave the one-bedroom accommodation she provided at her apartment in Jacksonville. Clarke tried to scare the victim by telling her that the neighborhood was dangerous and that she “would most likely” be killed if she tried to escape.
Clark also intimidated the Mexican woman by telling her that she was an expert at reading Tarot cards and that she (Clark) would find out if the Mexican woman tried to hide anything from her.
The victim said Clark provided a mattress and forced her to sleep in the dining room. She said that a week after she arrived, Clark began trying to inseminate her with semen using a syringe. After having sex with her boyfriend, Clark would use a syringe to retrieve the semen from inside the condom her boyfriend used and then try to inject the semen into the Mexican woman’s body.
The Mexican woman told federal investigators that Clark would inject her with the semen multiple times a day, sometimes up to four times. But after Clark tried unsuccessfully for nine months to make her pregnant, she became impatient and short-tempered. Clark, according to the victim, became physically and psychologically abusive. She began forcing the victim to perform “domestic labor,” such as taking care of Clark’s dog and cleaning up the house.
Clark also became convinced that the woman did not conceive because she was overweight. So she began rationing the victim’s diet strictly, feeding her only on beans. The woman said she lost 65 pounds over a few months of living on a diet consisting exclusively of beans.
“Clark isolated the victim from her family,” federal prosecutors said in a statement. “She also attempted to collect from the victim’s family the cost she had paid to the ‘coyotes,’ with interest.”
The victim alleged that Clark forced her into sex slavery. She forced her “to have sex with two complete strangers through threats of force and coercion.”
She forced the Mexican woman into servitude by threatening to harm her family if she attempted to escape, court documents read. She also forced the victim to work in local restaurants, but kept her wages.
The matter finally came to the attention of police authorities after someone, reportedly a member of the Celebration Church, learned about the Mexican woman’s situation and alerted the authorities.
News6 reports that the rescuer saw the Mexican woman washing cars outdoors, poorly clothed in cold weather. The person suspected abuse and called the police.
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