California Couple Arrested, Allegedly Had 12-Year-Old Sex Slave

Oceanside, CA — An Oceanside, California, couple has been arrested on suspicion of keeping an underage Mexican immigrant as a sex slave.

Forty-five-year-old Marcial Garcia Hernandez and 43-year-old Inez Martinez Garcia were arrested Thursday on suspicion of 13 felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of 14.

Officials from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said the girl, whose name was not released, was smuggled into the country from Mexico when she was 12 years old. The alleged abuse took place over a 21-month period.

Hernandez and Martinez forced the girl to take care of their three children and have sex with Hernandez. They beat her when she refused, Deputy G. Crysler, an investigator with the North County Human Trafficking Task Force, said.

“When the girl victim refused to participate in the sex acts or did not complete her tasks in a timely or correct manner, she was beaten,” he said.

The young girl was also forced to lie about her age in order to work in a local restaurant, as well as to have sex with older men as a prostitute. Garcia and Hernandez kept her income, arrest documents said.

The victim, now an adult, has since reunited with her family in Mexico, but came back to the United States to assist in the criminal investigation.

She said she was brought to the US with the promise of a better life and education. She was eventually placed in protective custody after she was allegedly beaten by the couple and police were called.

Garcia and Hernandez are being held at the Vista Detention Facility on immigration hold. They are due in court for arraignment at 1:30 pm Monday.