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Major Child Sex Slave Establishment In Texas Shut Down By Department Of Justice

HOUSTON, TX - A person of Mexican nationality, who was residing legally in Mission, Texas, has pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Texas today for the crime of sex trafficking involving a minor, the Department of Justice reported.

According to U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani for the Southern District of Texas, it has been alleged that Rita Martinez engaged in harmful behavior towards young migrant women and girls, involving them in sexual acts with male patrons, behind her cantina. 

He said it is unfortunate for anyone to experience such treatment and that efforts will be made to hold individuals, such as Martinez, accountable for their actions if they are found to have violated the laws of the United States, particularly in cases where they have targeted individuals who are vulnerable or in a disadvantaged position within our society.


In February 2022, Rita Martinez, 65, was indicted by a federal grand jury. The indictment alleges that Martinez used force, fraud, and coercion to compel 10 victims, including adults and minors, to engage in commercial sex work. The incidents took place in a cantina owned and operated by Martinez in Mission, Texas. The establishment was known by different names at different times, including Perez Lounge, Rita's Lounge, and Rita's Sports Bar.

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In January 2023, Genaro Fuentes, aged 40, pleaded guilty to the charge of sex trafficking a minor as a co-defendant in the case.

As per her plea agreement, Martinez acknowledged that she ran a cantina in Mission, Texas, between 2000 and 2019. Additionally, she admitted to offering accommodation to a minor victim, whom she was aware of being 16 years old, during the spring or summer of 2005. Martinez allegedly asked the minor victim to clean her house and later allowed the minor victim to accompany men from the cantina, knowing that these men had intentions to engage in commercial sex with the minor victim. 

It was acknowledged by Martinez that she received money from these clients prior to granting them permission to take the minor victim out of the cantina for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex. Martinez used the funds to settle a debt related to smuggling, which she had placed on the minor victim for the purpose of facilitating her transportation from Mexico to the United States. The individual who was underage departed from Rita's cantina during the autumn of 2006. 

The Department of Justice says they regard human trafficking, including the trafficking of children, as a serious crime that has significant consequences. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, says traffickers have a negative impact on human dignity, individual rights, public safety, border security, economic opportunity, and the rule of law. She believes the Justice Department maintains its commitment to prosecuting individuals involved in human trafficking, addressing the exploitation of vulnerable young individuals, and seeking restitution for the victims.

According to Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, human trafficking has the effect of depriving victims of their bodily autonomy and causing significant harm to families and communities. She says justice is often dependent on the bravery of victims who choose to share their experiences, and that the FBI expresses gratitude for the bravery displayed and is committed to ensuring justice for all individuals impacted by human trafficking.

Martinez is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of a life sentence, as well as a fine of up to $250,000. As part of Martinez's plea agreement, she has agreed to pay over $840,000 in restitution to 14 victims. The date for sentencing has been set for September 7th.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Clarke, U.S. Attorney Hamdani, and Assistant Director Quesada.

The case was investigated by the FBI, with support from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura Garcia and Sherri Zack from the Southern District of Texas, along with Trial Attorney Kate Hill from the Civil Rights Division's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. 

Individuals with knowledge regarding human trafficking are encouraged to report such information to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. This hotline operates round the clock, seven days a week. To access additional information on the topic of human trafficking, you can visit the website Information on the Justice Department's efforts to address human trafficking can be accessed at

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