Mission sports bar owner who forced girls into commercial sex gets 30 years

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Rita Martinez and Genaro Fuentes

A mother and son who pleaded guilty to sex trafficking undocumented women and girls for more than 20 years out of two Mission bars have been sentenced.

Rita Martinez will spend 30 years in federal prison while her son, Genaro Fuentes, will spend six years in prison.

They both were previously convicted of sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane further ordered Martinez to pay a total of $839,570.20 to 14 victims while Fuentes is ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution.

Fuentes and his mother coerced scores of undocumented Mexican women and girls into sex work to pay off exorbitant smuggling debts.

The pair lured the women and girls with promises of work cleaning houses or work in restaurants, but instead they were sold for sex work at Rita’s Sports Bar, which was owned by Martinez, and at a second bar called Brindis, which Fuentes operated.

The women and girls, who came from Durango and Coahuila, were smuggled between 1996 and 2019.

Fuentes previously admitted that the victims were forced to sell commercial sex services under the guise of being bar employees.

Rita’s Sports Bar is seen on March 9, 2022 in Mission. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

The women would be shuttled to nearby hotels to perform sex work or sometimes they were forced to perform sex work in trailers behind the bars or in clients’ cars.

Fuentes also admitted to having sex with the victims he and his mother trafficked. In fact, he felt entitled to have sex with them, according to the indictment.

Fuentes also collected payments and kept records of transactions.

The victims were also made to earn money by selling “pony beers.” A portion of the proceeds from the beers, which cost $5, would be used to pay off smuggling debts. Fuentes, however, admitted he never actually saw the victims get paid.

Martinez also would berate the women and girls, pull their hair and call them “whores.” If a victim tried to leave before the smuggling debt was paid off, Martinez would try to track them down and recover the debt.

In all, the scheme lasted 23 years.