After Silvio “Jander” Morales smuggled six women from his native Camaguey, Cuba, into Miami, he shed any niceties. Morales constricted the women into prostitution by mushrooming their debt, threatening their families’ lives and even threatening to feed one woman to alligators in the Everglades.
Morales virtually imprisoned the women in a Miami apartment complex. Friday, he learned he’ll be imprisoned 30 years in a federal facility after pleading guilty to six counts of sex trafficking by force, threats of force, fraud and coercion and one count of conspiracy to encourage and induce illegal aliens to enter the United States.
After his sentence, Morales likely will be deported, as he’s not a U.S. citizen.
As part of his plea deal, Morales admitted he and his cronies lured five of the women in Cuba with this deal: He gets them into the United States via Mexico and, once in their furnished apartment, they work as dancers to pay him $100 a day until their $20,000 debt is paid. Through an underling, Morales extended the same offer to a Camaguey woman in Honduras.
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This is the first known criminal case involving Cuban women brought to the United States for sexual exploitation.
All six accepted. None of the six, the statement says, would have if they knew the dancing would involve stripping. Or, that they would be sold as sexual commodities.
The first surprise came when Morales raised the amount each owed him from $20,000 to $55,000. To service the debt, they’d service paying men.
Fear for their families, one of which Morales personally threatened, moored them to Morales and the apartment complex. Morales’ minions or Morales himself drove the women to strip clubs around the county. Morales prohibited any of the women leaving the complex without his permission.
When one woman did, he made an example of her. Morales drove her to the edge of the Everglades, punching her on the way. Upon reaching a bridge near the Everglades, he told her he was going to throw her into the alligators’ domain. Instead, after making sure she understood not to defy him again, he tossed her into the trunk and drove back to the complex.
When one woman became pregnant after unprotected sex with a customer, Morales made her get an abortion.
Two women escaped the paralyzing fear and guarding gang members long enough to walk into a Miami police station on Sept. 6, 2016, and tell police what was going on. The police arrested Morales that night.