Slavery is still very prevalent in the world, evidenced by 21 to 36 million men, women and children living in bondage. The forced labor market generates $150 billion annually. $51 billion comes from forced domestic labor, but the bulk share comes from the $99 billion commercial sex industry. In the United States, Texas is a major hub for sex slaves. In a major win for humanity, Gerardo Salazar a.k.a “El Gallo” (meaning “The Rooster”), the leader of a Texas-based, international sex trafficking ring, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison. He pleaded guilty to four counts of “holding immigrants for the purpose of prostitution.”
El Gallo’s victims (women and girls, mostly from poor villages in Central Mexico) were stockpiled into “seedy apartments.” On a nightly basis, they were transported to Houston brothels, cantinas and nightclubs, where they surrendered their bodies to multiple johns for no pay. His slaves were branded with rooster tattoos. El Gallo instilled fear in his victims by threatening to shoot in the spine if they tried to run away, and harm their families if they told the authorities.
The heat was turned up on El Gallo, when a brave teen girl managed to escape and called a domestic abuse hotline and shared the horror of being lured from Mexico and forced into prostitution in the US. According to Inquisitr:
In 2005, Salazar and six accomplices, including his two sons and two nephews, were indicted in a major prosecution by Houston’s Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance, the most active anti-trafficking task force in America. They discovered that Salazar had wooed a lengthy list of Mexican victims into the country with false promises of the American dream.
Dozens of state and federal officers launched a massive raid on an apartment and cantinas along the Gulf Freeway and a number of arrests were made. Only “El Gallo” escaped. Authorities believe he was tipped off.
Salazar was driving a red Trans Am when he was stopped on a highway by Mexican Federal Police near his hometown in. He identified himself as “Pedro,” and offered his car and house to the officers to let him go. He had been on the run for five years after making the FBI’s Most Wanted List. He was arrested and extradited back to the U.S. in 2014.
In court on Monday, El Gallo prayed to Jesus, and, through a translator, pleaded, “Please understand that with all due respect I am a victim too. I never intended to harm anyone. If I did I ask for their forgiveness.”
U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore sentenced him saying, “He victimized women and he doesn’t care. He hasn’t learned a thing.”