A Florida couple was arrested and charged with human trafficking after they were found to be bonding women out of jail and then forcing them into prostitution. The couple had a child in the home as well.
Joselito Martinez and Tanya Wurster, a couple in Marion County, forced three women into prostitution between 2019 and 2021, according to the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI). They were booked into Orange Country Jail.
They face three counts of deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
The couple reportedly trafficked the three women to different places in Central Florida after they bonded women out of jail and provided housing for them.
In addition to providing housing for the women, Martinez used "narcotics, threats of violence, and humiliating acts such as shaving the victim's head to control the victim."
He forced two of the women to accept tattoos as well, in what deputies described as an effort to brand them as property. The child who Wurster and Martinez had lived in the home where the couple was forcing the women into prostitution.
Martinez and Wurster were previously arrested in 2016 for fraud. Wurster served a year and six months on the charge. Martinez was still on probation after being released in 2019 for the previous charge at the time of this more recent arrest. Martinez, in addition to the charges relating to the trafficking, is charged with violating his probation.
The couple made over $300,000 over the two years while trafficking the women for commercial sex.
Cases of human trafficking have been brought to the attention of the public in part because of the recent movie release, Sound of Freedom, which details a story of trafficking victims. President Trump hosted a showing of the movie in New Jersey.
Rates of human trafficking have been increasing in recent years; US government officials have claimed that the Covid-19 outbreak has helped play a role in this.
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