Legal Victory Against Human Trafficking: Sentences Handed Down for Mother-Son Duo

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Legal victory against sex trafficking: Rita Martinez and son sentenced. Explore the decades-long exploitative business model and the Justice Department’s commitment to combating human trafficking.

Rita Martinez: A Decades-Long Exploitative Business Model

In a significant legal development, Rita Martinez, a 65-year-old Mexican woman legally residing in Mission, Texas, and her U.S. citizen son, Genaro Fuentes, 41, have been sentenced for sex trafficking a young girl. Martinez, the mastermind behind a sinister business model, was sentenced to 360 months in prison, ordered to pay over $840,000 in restitution, and required to surrender her house and bar. Fuentes, her co-defendant, received a 72-month prison sentence and a $20,000 restitution order.

Justice Prevails: A Strong Message to Human Traffickers

The Justice Department, committed to combating human trafficking, celebrates the sentences as a victory against parasitic sex traffickers preying on vulnerable individuals. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke emphasizes the importance of prosecuting those who exploit the promise of America for heinous crimes.

Martinez’s business model, described as simple yet evil, involved enticing young girls from Mexico with false promises of a better life in the United States. She then coerced these girls into engaging in sexual acts with male patrons at her various bars, including Perez Lounge, Rita’s Lounge, and Rita’s Sports Bar.

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According to court documents, the 16-year-old victim lived with Martinez from the spring of 2005 to the fall of 2006. During this period, Martinez arranged for the young girl to engage in commercial sex acts with bar customers. Martinez accepted money from these clients, applying it to the smuggling debt imposed on the minor victim for her transportation from Mexico to the United States.

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The sentences handed down serve as a strong message to human traffickers, particularly those operating under the guise of legitimate businesses. U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani for the Southern District of Texas affirms that today’s sentence ensures Martinez is the only one left imprisoned, sending a resounding message to traffickers posing as business owners.

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The FBI San Antonio Field Office, McAllen Resident Agency, investigated the case, with valuable assistance from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Trial Attorney Kate Hill of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura Garcia and Sherri Zack for the Southern District of Texas prosecuted the case.

Source: Department o f Justice and My RGV

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