Girl who says she was raped 43,000 times dedicates her life to helping others

'I never imagined that the girl who used to stand on the corner wearing high heels, who was considered a prostitute, would feel so strong'

Adam Withnall
Monday 05 December 2016 18:09 GMT
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Karla Jacinto gives public speeches on her experiences of modern day slavery
Karla Jacinto gives public speeches on her experiences of modern day slavery

A woman who says she was raped 30 times a day for four years has now committed to travelling the world to help save other sex slaves.

Karla Jacinto spoke to CNN back in 2015 to describe how she became entrapped in Mexico’s sex trafficking industry, estimating that she was forced to have sex 43,200 times between the ages of 12 and 16.

Now 24 years old, Ms Jacinto has continued to tell her story in public speeches in different countries around the world.

In July she told her story to Pope Francis at the Vatican during a conference on modern day slavery.

Her aim is to raise awareness and protect girls and boys so they don’t suffer the same fate.

“I never imagined that the girl who used to stand on the corner wearing high heels, who was considered a prostitute, would feel so strong,” she told CNN’s Freedom Project. “Nowadays many people listen to me.”

Last year, she spoke of how she was lured away from a dysfunctional home at the age of 12, groomed by a man 10 years older than her with gifts, money and fast cars.

The 22-year-old trafficker convinced Ms Jacinto to leave with him to Tenancingo, a Mexican town in the state of Tlaxcala, known as a major centre for human trafficking rings and a common place for victims to be taken before being forced into prostitution.

Ms Jacinto told CNN she lived with her trafficker for three months before being taken to Guadalajara, one of Mexico’s largest cities, where she was forced to work as a prostitute.

"I started at 10am and finished at midnight,” said Ms Jacinto, “Some men would laugh at me because I was crying.”

“I had to close my eyes so that that I wouldn't see what they were doing to me, so that I wouldn't feel anything.”

Now in her speeches, Ms Jacinto highlights the devastating role played in her abuse by people who were supposed to be figures of authority - including on-duty police officers.

“The uniformed police officers entered a room that we were in, we had to do everything they asked of us, it lasted 3 or 4 hours,” she said. “I was disgusted by them, they knew we were minors.”

Rosi Orozco, a former Mexican congresswoman who now fights against human trafficking, said men in such positions of responsibility were among Ms Jacinto’s worst abusers

“She had clients that were judges, priests, pastors, police. So she knew that she could not run away to go to the authorities.”

In the years after she was saved during an anti-trafficking operation, Ms Jacinto went from being a victim to a volunteer helping other girls. Now, instead of just surviving, she is thriving, CNN reports.

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