Five in family-run sex trafficking operation sentenced to nearly 40 years in prison

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Five family members were sentenced to nearly 40 years in prison Thursday for running a sex trafficking organization.

District Judge Allyne Ross sentenced the family members who were convicted on sex trafficking charges in March 2020 for transporting Mexican women and girls, some of whom were minors to the United States and forcing them to work in prostitution between 2006 and July 2017, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.


The victims were trafficked to New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware.

Jose Miguel Melendez-Rojas was sentenced to 39 years and six months in prison, Jose Osvaldo Melendez-Rojas and Rosalio Melendez-Rojas were each sentenced to 39 years and six months; Jose Osvaldo Melendez-Rojas and Rosailio Melendez-Rojas were sentenced to 39 years and four months in prison and Francisco Melendez-Perez and Abel Romero Melendez were sentenced to 25 years and 20 years in prison respectively.

They were also ordered to pay restitution to their victims.

A sixth co-defendant Fabian Reyes-Rojas, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking in December 2019 and is awaiting sentencing.

During the trial, a victim identified as "Diana" testified that she was smuggled into the United States as a minor and forced to work as a prostitute and that Jose Miguel Melendez-Rojas beat and raped her in front of other members of the household when she tried to escape.


Another victim identified as "Veronica" testified that Jose Miguel Melendez-Rojas threatened that he would "chop [her] mother up into little pieces" if she did not work as a prostitute.

"Through false promises of a better life, the defendants ensnared young, vulnerable victims in a sordid world of sex trafficking and used violence and cruel threats to force them into prostitution," U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. "Today's lengthy sentence reflects the immeasurable harm the defendants' brutality and exploitation inflicted on these young women and girls, and the commitment of this Office and its law enforcement partners to combatting human trafficking in all its forms."

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