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December 28, 09

NEWS / Nashville, Tennessee, Woman Sentenced on Sex Trafficking Charges

Cristina Andres Perfecto of Nashville, Tenn., was sentenced late yesterday in federal court in Memphis to 190 months in prison for sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, sex trafficking of a juvenile and conspiracy.

Perfecto pleaded guilty on Aug . 28, 2007, to two counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and sex trafficking of a juvenile in the Western District of Tennessee, as well as one count of conspiracy in the Middle District of Tennessee.

Perfecto’s co-defendant, Juan Mendez, was sentenced to 50 years in prison on June 27, 2008, after pleading guilty to child sex trafficking and sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion. Perfecto and Mendez each admitted to fraudulently luring two young girls, including a 13 year-old, from rural Mexico to Tennessee with the intent of forcing them into prostitution. Both further admitted that Mendez, with Perfecto’s assistance, physically, verbally, and sexually abused the victims in order to coerce them into prostitution.

Nine other defendants had earlier pleaded guilty in this same case for crimes including: child sex trafficking, conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, conspiracy to commit money laundering, enticing an individual to travel in interstate commerce to commit prostitution, and violating the Mann Act.

"This defendant lured vulnerable victims to the United States under false pretenses and coerced them into sexual slavery, depriving them of their freedom, their dignity and their civil rights," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "We will continue to aggressively prosecute individuals who engage in coercive sexual exploitation."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Parker for the Western District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Jonathan Skrmetti from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case. The investigation was led by Memphis FBI Agent Tracey Harris and Memphis U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Greg Swearngin. They were assisted by ICE agents in Nashville, the Memphis Police Department, the Nashville Police Department and FBI and ICE agents from around the country who lent their expertise to the investigation. Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, the YWCA, and World Relief have assisted the victims and witnesses in this matter.




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