Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
San Antonio’s Transgender Community Shows its Pride

San Antonio’s Transgender Community Shows its Pride

The Pride Issue: Despite the common belief that it was transgender activist Sylvia Rivera who sparked the beginning of the modern gay rights movement by flinging her high... By Jade Esteban Estrada 7/2/2014
Best Happy Hour

Best Happy Hour

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology

Astrology: ARIES (March 21-April 19): These horoscopes I write for you aren’t primarily meant to predict the future. They are more about uncovering hidden potentials and... By Rob Brezsny 9/17/2014
Daniela Riojas’ Photographic Studies in Self-discovery

Daniela Riojas’ Photographic Studies in Self-discovery

Arts & Culture: Daniela Riojas explores ideas of the figure in art, Latin American rituals, letting go of the past, and Jungian archetypes in... By Tom Turner 9/17/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email


Underage sex trafficking is everywhere local law enforcement looks, but will their budgets hold out?

Photo: , License: N/A

While the details of her abuse are disturbing, so is how the case was ultimately caught.

After Maldonado forced her to sleep with an elderly man, a john in his late 60s, the girl fought back. She ran from a Westside motel room with the man's pants and wallet. When Edgewood School District police found her, they arrested her for theft and locked her up. "When we went back and looked we couldn't believe it," Burchell said. "It was book her, then slammer. She just went through the system. No one was paying attention."


It was only in juvie that the girl finally got treatment for her drug addiction, learned she had HIV and hepatitis C, and slowly began to divulge the details of her abuse to a therapist. Seven years after the child was first coerced into the sex trade, her pimp Maldonado pleaded no contest in May of 2011 in exchange for a 10-year sentence.

At a conference with local health care providers in January, Miriam Elizondo, vice president of client services at Rape Crisis Center in San Antonio, said a central problem is that victims are slow to self-report. Typically, she said, fewer than one percent of the Center's clients identify themselves as trafficking victims. And when the Center took to reviewing its cases, Elizondo says they were shocked to find how many children were being classified as sexual assault or child abuse victims when they could have been trafficking cases. "It's crucial we identify these cases," she said. "There are significant long-term needs involved."

Some clients, she said, come in unable to speak, contemplating suicide or have already attempted suicide.

Melton's other successful prosecution is the highly publicized case of a 12-year-old girl forced into sex slavery at an Eastside crack house. Brothers Juan and Bobby Moreno kidnapped the child and locked her in the bathroom, according to authorities. According to the girl's testimony, the brothers raped her and then kept her for 10 days. Customers at the crack house could pay extra for sex with the girl. In all, she was forced to have sex with about 25 men, and when she resisted she was tied to the bed. According to court records, some of the johns snapped nude photos of the girl with their cell phones. Eventually a neighbor came to the house, recognized the girl, and rescued her.

Burchell, who eventually investigated the case, recalls interviewing the girl. "When I walked out of that room, I got teary eyed. She described some of the most sadistic shit that a human being could endure." Melton says the girl has never really recovered. "She has continued within the juvenile system to struggle significantly." Juan Moreno received four life sentences in late 2010. His brother Bobby is set to be tried on similar charges this coming spring.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus