(CNSNews.com) - President Trump and other advocates of a border wall say it would reduce cross-border criminal activity and sex trafficking cases such as the one concluded last week in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Five Mexicans, members of the international Rendon-Reyes Trafficking Organization, received prison terms of 15 to 25 years, the Justice Department announced on Monday. Three other defendants are set to be sentenced on Jan. 15.
The defendants pled guilty in 2017 to racketeering, sex trafficking, and other federal charges following their arrests in Mexico and the United States, "where they were residing illegally," DOJ said.
For over a decade, the Rendon-Reyes Trafficking Organization, based in Tenancingo, Tlaxcala, Mexico, smuggled numerous young women and girls from Mexico and Central America into the United States and forced them to engage in prostitution for the organization’s profit.
According to documents filed in court, between December 2004 and November 2015, members of the Rendon-Reyes Organization, including the defendants, forced multiple young women and girls, including the 12 referenced in court documents, to perform countless commercial sex acts throughout the United States and Mexico.
The organization targeted vulnerable women and girls, some as young as 14, from impoverished areas of Mexico and Central America. Male members of the Organization typically used false promises of love and marriage to lure the victims into fraudulent romantic relationships.
In some instances, they forcibly abducted the victims, and on one occasion, a victim’s child. Members of the Organization frequently arranged for others to smuggle the victims across the border and into the United States, the news release said.
Once in the United States, members of the organization forced the victims into prostitution, threatening them with severe and repeated beatings, sexual assaults, forced abortions, and threats to themselves, their families and children, among other psychological harm.
DOJ said the victims were forced to perform as many as 45 sex acts a night, while the organization took all of the prostitution proceeds, funneling the money back to Mexico.
“These well-deserved sentences reflect the gravity of the human trafficking crimes these defendants committed,” said Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker. “The defendants operated an extensive sex trafficking enterprise that preyed on vulnerable young women and girls, deceiving them with false promises, coercing their compliance, and compelling them into submission through beatings, threats, isolation, and intimidation."
President Trump repeatedly argues that a border wall would help reduce cross-border crime and trafficking. Just yesterday, on his return to the White House from Camp David, Trump told reporters, "What we need is, we need we need a strong border.
"We have criminals coming in, we have human traffickers coming in, we have drugs pouring in, we have things happening that you don’t want to even want to know about. It has been that way for decades, and we cannot have it any more,” Trump said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted the Rendon-Reyes sex trafficking case.