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Calif. couple accused of holding girl as sex slave face court hearing

This news story was published on December 3, 2012.
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By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times –

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — An Oceanside, Calif., couple are scheduled to be in court Monday to face accusations that they kept an underage Mexican immigrant as a sex slave, forcing her into prostitution and beating her severely.

Marcial Garcia Hernandez, 45, and Inez Martinez Garcia, 43, were arrested Thursday on suspicion of 13 felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under age 14.

The girl had been smuggled into the U.S. at age 12, and the abuse by Hernandez and Garcia occurred over a 21-month period, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said.

Hernandez and Garcia forced the girl to care for their three children and cook and clean for the family, as well as have sex with Hernandez, according to Deputy G. Crysler, an investigator with the North County Human Trafficking Task Force.

“When the girl victim refused to participate in the sex acts or did not complete her tasks in a timely or correct manner, she was beaten,” Crysler said.

The couple forced the victim into lying about her age so she could work at a local restaurant, with Garcia and Hernandez keeping the money she earned, according to the arrest documents. She was also forced into having sex with older men, with Garcia and Hernandez keeping the money paid by “johns,” the documents said.

Authorities were called after the victim was allegedly beaten by Garcia. Reunited with her family, she returned to Mexico. Recently, she returned to the U.S. and is assisting in the criminal investigation, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

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