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Prostitution Pipeline To U.S. Begins In Tenancingo, Mexico

Many of the women taken in Tenancingo wind up working as prostitutes in Queens, according to a new Fusion documentary. (Screenshot from documentary trailer)

Many of the women taken in Tenancingo wind up working as prostitutes in Queens, according to a new Fusion documentary. (Screenshot from documentary trailer)

A new documentary by Fusion tells the story of Tenancingo, Mexico — just a few hours south of Mexico City. Tenancingo is in the Mexican state that is the single largest source of sex slaves who are sent to the U.S., according to the U.S. State Department.

Fusion’s documentary, “Pimp City: A Journey to the Center of the Sex Slave Trade,” takes place on both sides of the border: in Tenancingo and in Queens, New York. Many of the women taken in Tenancingo wind up working in Queens.

Among those interviewed by the Fusion team are a woman named Miranda, who was taken as a 14-year-old in Tenancingo by a local man who forced her to become a sex slave, and a Tenancingo man now in prison for trafficking, who explains how he got into the business.

Alice Brennan, producer of “Pimp City,” discusses the documentary with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.

Interview Highlights: Alice Brennan

On the girls forced into the sex trade

“Miranda’s story is, unfortunately, brutally common. She was 14, sitting in a park in a small town in Mexico and a man who identified himself as ‘Rodolfo’ introduced himself to her and eventually kidnapped her. Through his family network, he forced her into prostitution, and trafficked her to Queens, where she was forced into a life of being a sex slave. As you just heard in that clip, she’d see up to 60 men a day — $35 each in 15 minute increments. It’s just– it’s incredible.”

On the clients and network

“Men hang around — especially in New York — men hang around subway stations handing out cards. They’re called ‘chica cards.’ Often, they’ll be advertising things like children’s birthday parties, flowers, balloons… When in fact on the back of the card there is a cell phone number. And you can call the cell phone number and you will have a girl either delivered to you or you can go to a specific place, as well. These girls are transported all around the country, as well. That was something that was really alarming to us — the broad network of drivers, of guards. The girls would be transported to farms, would be transported to factories, to industrial areas to service up to 60 men a day.”

On the nature of the sex trade before it reaches the United States

“It is something that has become intergenerational in Tenancingo. I mean, I grew up in a town where farming and carpentry was the thing to do. In Tenancingo, it just so happens that sex trafficking is the trade. So these young boys are taught that it’s not only okay, but this is how you make money. This is your path in life.”

Trailer: 'Pimp City'


  • Alice Brennan, investigative producer for Fusion who produced “Pimp City: A Journey to the Center of the Sex Slave Trade.” She tweets @alicitabrennan.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Rick

    This is what happens when you have a very porous border and lack of interest in enforcing border security by our Dear Leader and other politicians.

    Build a fence along the entire border. A real fence, made out of steel and concrete, not a fake “smart” fence. It can be done. It would solve the problem described in this story and an array of other problems we have on our Southern border.

    • stoplyin7722

      Can you guys some up with anything other than building a fence? That is the least creative solution on earth. What we need is for our government to stop suporting repressive regimes and economic policies in Mexico and Latin America. It’s no accident that millions of Mexicans began to flee after NAFTA was passed. Look up Plan Mexico, also called the Merida Plan, and see how many thousands of Mexicans have been killed since 2006.

      Our government also supported a “regime change” in Honduras a few years ago. Why? Because the democratically elected president of Honduras wanted to raise the minimum wage. Can’t have that! So he had to be replaced. Could this be contributing to the mass exodus of children from Honduras? I think so. People need to be able to earn a decent wage, not slave wages.

      Last night Charlie Rose interviewed the president of Mexico and all he wanted to know was why corporate reforms were not being implemented faster. There was no discussion of what these effect these reforms would have on the populace.

      • Rick

        You’re right, a fence isn’t very “creative”. It’s actually a pretty simple idea, which is reason we should build it. The things you mentioned are important also, but I don’t believe that the US can be blamed for all the problems in Central America.

  • M S

    Ah, the benefits of illegal immigration. You can thank of liberal elites, including the likes of Obama and Bloomberg, for not enforcing our laws, but what do they care, they are only about ideology…well done gentlemen.

    • stoplyin7722

      You don’t understand globalization.

  • Charu

    Heartbreaking story. Am staggered by the enormity of the trade. It looks like the girls are used to service migrant/immigrant workers to a large extent (farms?). Most relevant to not only immigration discussion, but also to State affairs.

    • missionaccomplished

      Nothing like that was mentioned on the NPR program.

      • stoplyin7722

        She just doesn’t want to believe that the demand might be coming from Americans.

        • missionaccomplished

          Oh, they most certainly are. In San Diego, several prostitute websites run by Americans rent Mexican prostitutes. These websites are in ENGLISH. The pimps have 619 and 858 area codes. I guess there is no law preventing this or it must be very difficult to US law enforcement to track them down, or it’s probably just a very low priority. Certainly Mexican LE has too much on their plates. In fact, one of the websites with the 858 area code offers a prostitute in the LA area who used to be in Tijuana, Mexico.

  • http://www.demandabolition.org Lina Nealon, Demand Abolition

    If men weren’t buying sex, these pimps would be out of business. The sex buyers fill the pockets of pimps with money so they could buy their cars and jewelry and drugs. Sex buyers are not “clients”…let’s call them by their real name: child rapists, users, perpetrators, criminals. Buyers of sex need to be held accountable for the inherently harmful industry they fuel. We need to stop and deter sex buyers, get them into rehabilitation programs, use fines and fees to support exit services for those who want to leave prostitution (the majority), and ensure that young men do not become buyers in the first place. As long as men are buying, traffickers will keep supplying. Let’s dry up the market: stop demand. http://www.demandabolition.org

    • Bill98

      I believe that the opposite approach would be more effective. Make prostitution legal, then regulate it. This would accomplish 2 things, which would help to eliminate human trafficking.

      First, most customers would choose to utilize the regulated establishments, thus depriving the traffickers of their clientele.

      Second, both customers and workers could report the traffickers, without admitting to a crime by so doing. So, the very folks who fear to turn to the police today, but who are the best source of information that the police need, would now be free to help end the slave trade.

      There have always been those who willingly sell sex, and those who willingly buy it. Allowing those who choose to engage in these activities to legally do so will help to eliminate the abuse perpetrated by these criminals. It worked when we ended Prohibition, and it would work here, as well.

      • womenarehumanbeingstoo

        You are not buying booze but another human being, somebody’s little girl, somebody’s mother or sister. Another desperate human being! This is not Pretty Woman. Just because you call these losers customers and these prostitutes workers it is still a very pathetic, sad, denigrating and dangerous lifestyle.

        • NP

          I agree. Can you imagine being the girl who took care of 60 “customers” in a day? She is just a receptacle for a man’s sperm. So horrid. What has happened to her self image?

      • janie

        That sounds great on paper. Unfortunately, European countries that have tried that found it does not work. The trade doesn’t end up being controlled by “those who willingly sell sex” in some kind of empowering way. Instead, girls from poor countries are trafficked in even greater numbers as sex slaves. I wish this libertarian solution worked but it never has — not anywhere.

    • missionaccomplished

      What was that about the war on drugs???

  • http://batman-news.com George

    Abolitionists are dreamers. 60 men a day? B.S. The abolitionists moral crusade is run on lies and fear. They are behind over 5000 women arrested this year by the FBI cross country stings. 168 children rescued. The majority of prostitutes are adults, but they play the child slave card exclusively. Dont try to reason with an abolitionist… they are crazy!

  • Rick

    Please read the Community Rules for posting and refrain from personal attacks. Thanks and have a nice day.

    • missionaccomplished

      Does that INCLUDE SARCASTICALLY referring to the President as “our Dear Leader”, Rickkk?

      • Rick

        Last time I checked, the President wasn’t commenting on this forum. You seriously think we shouldn’t be allowed to criticize our elected politicians???

  • Levant1234

    The FBI raid 300 arrests against sex traffickers in a single day in the past month.


    They did not just find out about these pimps the day before. The FBI, headed by our Attorney General Holder let the pimps continue abusing women until they had enough names to make headlines.

    If the girls were their daughters, they surely would not have waited so long.



  • amberdru

    Securing the border would prevent this. Border Patrol Arrest an Illegal alien from Mexico Convicted of Murder” http://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/2014-06-09-000000/border-patrol-agents-arrest-undocumented-immigrant

  • Pleiades

    Ingesting Fox News will not resolve impotent ideas; it will increase the occurence of impotent ideas.

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