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2012 (Narrative date)

Sex trafficking remains prevalent in Mexico with the city of Tenancingo, Tlaxcala being dubbed the sex trafficking capital of the world. Women and young girls are often manipulated into 'love relationships' with local men who earn their trust and then trap them into forced prostitution. NGOs have revealed that the commercial sexual exploitation of Mexican girls occurs on a daily basis.

Marcela tells of how she was tricked into one of these ‘love relationships’ at 13 years old after being approached by a man at a bus stop. She describes how after moving in with him he sent her to meet a girl at a ‘hotel’ and was taught how to provide sex work. Though she had heard stories of girls being killed, after a couple of years Marcela was able to escape and accuse the trafficker who had tricked her into prostitution.

One day, I wanted to go downtown… while I was waiting for my friends at the bus stop, this guy shows up and starts asking me – “What’s your name?”, “How old are you?”… “Do you live near here?”, “Do you study?”, “Do you work?”, “What do you do?”

He says “Well, I’ll just to be your friend.” And he tell me about his life story and I tell him about mine… Our stories basically matched… He came from an abusive family, his father didn’t love him… He told me he was a salesman and that he travelled a lot. So I said to myself… this is a good thing. And when we met again. He asked me if I wanted to live with him, he told me he’d fallen in love with me.

That’s what gets you. Because you’re usually alone in life and when someone comes along and says “I love you” or “You’re very pretty,” you feel like they’re giving you the moon and the stars.

But the thing about him was that he used to put ideas in my mind, subtly.

“What if you started working?”

And I’d always ask “Doing what?”

“Providing sexual services.”

So the next day he explains to me the different services provided… and where I would go.

He sends me to meet a girl. I’d never thought we would got to a “hotel”… those “hotels”.

The girl tried to convince the hotel owner to let me work. She didn’t let me work. First of all, because I was a minor. And because I didn’t have an ID. He told me to go get some color photos taken. And by the next day, I already got my ID. I was already eighteen, when I was thirteen. 

If I didn’t make the money, he’d hit me and hit me. That was all he’d do. At certain places the clients preferred younger women, girls. Because they looked fresher. They were like a fantasy to them. “Since I can’t rape one, I can go to a hotel to find one.” And there we were.

And I’d ask myself “Why are you still here? Why don’t you leave?” I heard lots of stories of girls who tried to escape and they’d end up dead.

That kind of life… goes by very slowly, as if it were a movie. It sounds like a movie, but it’s not. What we went through is real life. What we went through… it’s not nice at all.

As told to documentary makers at MTV Exit.