Tribunal Oral en lo Criminal Federal de la ciudad de Comodoro Rivadavia (Federal Criminal Court of Comodoro Rivadavia)
Victims / Plaintiffs in the first instance
Defendants / Respondents in the first instance
At the city of Misiones, the victim met a woman named "Mariela" who contacted the defendant and convinced her to move from her hometown to the city of Comodoro Rivadavia to exercise prostitution, in the month of February 2008 to October 17 of that year.
The victim travelled to Comodoro Rivadavia on February 2008 when she was 16 years old, with all the expenses paid by the defendant.
The establishment called “La Casita del Amor” (The little house of Love) was a brothel run by the defendant known as “Celeste” and according to the testimonies given by other women who were working at this place, all agreed that Celeste was the owner and boss of the place, she was responsible for managing the money that everyone won and who they should refer to in any given situation, that they could leave when they wanted to, however they should always tell to Celeste first. She managed their money because she feared being stolen and whenever they need, they could ask for it.
After hearing the testimony from several women who also worked as prostitutes in the brothel, the court found the crime of human trafficking.
Charges / Claims / Decisions
Article 145 ter Penal code
The court described the conduct performed by the defendant as the crime stipulated in Article 145 of the Criminal Code once all acts lead to believe the commission of the crime of human trafficking. It was proven that the defendant purchased the victim’s tickets from the city of Oberá to the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, where she worked as a prostitute. Furthermore, the defendant harboured the victim and several other women at this house rented by her transforming the place into a brothel called "La Casita del Amor" (The Little House of Love), which had its sexual services promoted trough the media, where “Laura”, who later was identified as M.R., was offered. The place was visited by men who gave their payment directly to the defendant, who acted under the name of "Celeste". She obtained an economic benefit of 50% of that generated by each women, and she also kept the women at the place with the help of two guards or gatekeepers (RJ and B) and another woman (B.E.) in charge of guarding the exits of women. Each of each of the prostitutes had a notebook in which she recorded the kind of “services performed” with date and time, as the debts that each had with the pimp, in the form of various expenses.
Regarding the fact the victim had agreed to work as a prostitute, the Court asserted: “For the purpose of the configuration of the crime of trafficking provisions of art. 145 of the Criminal Code, it is irrelevant that the victim under 18 consents sexual exploitation”.
The court decided to impose a sentence of 4 years in prison and a fine of $ 5.000 (five thousand argentinian pesos).
Sources / Citations
Judgment - Causa n° 8161-08
Database of UFASE (Unidad Fiscal de Asistencia en Secuestros Extorsivos y Trata de Personas), Ministerio Público Fiscal, República Argentina.