Portrait of a young woman is seen as police struggle to shut down a sex trafficking ring in Houston.
Despite a high level police investigation, a bevy of victims, and repeated press coverage, Houston police have been unable to close a group of seedy cantinas at the center of a sex trafficking ring, the Houston Chronicle is reporting today.
In a lengthy investigative report, the Chronicle tells the story of Gerardo Salazar, a Mexican American who allegedly has been running a sex trafficking operation that smuggles young Mexican women into America on false hopes of romance and fortune. Instead, a federal indictment claims, they are imprisoned, beaten and forced to sexually serve clients at his bars.
Salazar calls himself El Gallo, in Spanish, 'The Rooster,' and forces his victims to tattoo an image of one on their bodies. And though he has evaded federal authorities and escaped to Mexico, the cantina sex trade he helped build in Houston continues to flourish.