Mexican Town's Entire Economy Is Based on Human Trafficking

In an extensive investigative series called Pimp City: A Journey to the Center of the Sex Slave Trade, Fusion explores Tenancingo, Mexico, a town that makes virtually its entire living from sex trafficking, sending prostitutes forced into the trade all the way to cities around the U.S.


"Tenancingo has spawned, frankly, a cottage industry of victimization," U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch told Fusion. "It's disturbing on many, many levels. They're family-led organizations that specialize in trafficking young girls, prostituting them in Mexico, bringing them to the U.S., forcing them into prostitution here."

According to the documentary – hosted by Mariana van Zeller – human trafficking is the fastest growing enterprise in the world, partially because of corrupt local government officials who are in on this money-making scheme. "The women are actually a commodity to be used over and over and over again," one U.S. government official told them.

As for the U.S. government, they spend far more money on fighting the drug trade and counterfeiting, despite the huge profit sex trafficking makes. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, only 146 women have seen their pimps face any kind of sentencing.


"Based on our estimates, a pimp can make half a million dollars a year with three women working for him, each seeing an average of 20 clients a day, each for 15 minutes," Fusion reports. They traveled to Tenancingo (a town that's been the subject of attention for this issue before), sent a reporter into a normal-looking house in Queens that ended up being a brothel, interviewed an incarcerated former pimp and spoke with women who have been in or are still working in prostitution against their will. It's chilling, moving and definitely worth watching.



Human trafficking is a growing problem in the US, particularly in any tourist area or any state like California or Florida that borders water or another country. My state of Florida is third in the nation for human trafficking because we border water and have lots of tourism and international tourism. It used to be that men interested in sexual tourism went to Thailand but that's no longer necessary as anything they want can be had at home, including sex with children as young as age 7.

Criminals have realized that there is way more money, and less risk to them, working in human trafficking instead of selling drugs or gun running. Like the article said, a woman that is being trafficked can be used again and again and again—as often as 20-30 times a day in some cases. It's harder to catch a pimp at work than say a drug dealer since there are many reasons for a man to be walking down the street with a girl; it's harder to make a legal case against him, and the penalties for conviction are lower than if he were caught importing drugs. Human trafficking is a win win for the pimps.

I work with girls coming out of human trafficking and, unfortunately, there are a lot of them who have been very damaged.