The FBI this week announced that it is seeking to learn the full extent of a human trafficking network it believes was run by a woman arrested earlier this month, which could have included hundreds of women forced into prostitution.
Ysenni Gomez was arrested on Aug. 12 by the FBI on sex trafficking charges based upon activity in the New York City area, according to an FBI statement.
The FBI statement alleged that Gomez had placed more than 1,600 ads linked to prostitution.
“We believe there are likely many more victims,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Brendan Kenney said, according to the New York Post. “This operation could have been going on for as many as 10 years.”
“Approximately one week after the interview, the Victim returned to the Restaurant Location wearing all-black attire as instructed by GOMEZ to begin work as a waitress,” the complaint said.
“Once at the restaurant, GOMEZ approached the Victim and told her that she would be working at a different restaurant. GOMEZ then instructed the Victim to get into a vehicle. The Victim complied. GOMEZ entered the vehicle through the front driver’s side door,” the complaint said.
The Venezuelan woman was then given an ultimatum.
“Once inside the vehicle GOMEZ informed the Victim that she would not be working at a restaurant. Instead, GOMEZ informed the Victim that she would be required to have sex with different individuals for money. The Victim initially refused,” the complaint said.
“GOMEZ then stated that if the Victim did not comply, that GOMEZ would tell ‘immigration’ that the Victim was not residing in the country legally. GOMEZ further stated, in sum and substance, that the Victim did not have a voice, and that she would be deported. The Victim again refused,” the complaint said.
The complaint said that after several weeks of threats the Venezuelan woman agreed to work as a prostitute.
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She worked as a prostitute for about three weeks, having sex with an average of three men per night three nights per week, the complaint said.
The complaint said that an FBI agent learned of the scheme by seeing an advertisement believed to be for sex and set up a meeting with a woman, who turned out to be the Venezuelan woman who offered testimony against Gomez.
Gomez was arrested the night of the meeting after driving the woman to the hotel where the meeting took place.
The complaint said the FBI believes that Gomez preyed upon other Spanish-speaking women who were in the country illegally.
Kenney said the FBI is investigating if other traffickers were involved in the operation.
“We want to ensure that any victims out there come forward because the FBI is singularly focused on seeking justice for them,” Kenney said, according to WNYW. “Those victims should not fear deportation if they come forward.”
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