Mexican man pleads guilty to sex trafficking of 17-year-old

ATLANTA - A Mexican man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal district court to sex trafficking of a minor in the Norcross area.

Between April 2008 and June 5, 2008, authorities said Raul Cortes-Meza, 21, harbored a 17-year-old girl and drove her to various residences to have sex with paying clients. The girl was allegedly "romantically courted" in Mexico before being smuggled into the United States, said United States Attorney David Nahmias.

Nahmias said Cortes-Meza told the girl to spend 15 minutes with each man present, and he then collected money from each man the girl had sex with.

Cortes-Meza was indicted in June 2008 on eight counts, including conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, importing women for the purpose of prostitution, harboring and shielding aliens for commercial advantage or private financial gain and sex trafficking of minors.

"Human traffickers care only about money and think nothing of leaving victims abused and exploited in the wake of their greed," said Kenneth Smith, Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent. "This case should put others engaging in the crime of human trafficking on notice. ICE will pursue those criminals who place a higher value on profit than on human dignity."

A sentencing date has not been scheduled, but Cortes-Meza faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison with a maximum of life.

Cortes-Meza's brother, Francisco, pleaded guilty in December to sex trafficking by force and coercion. Prosecutors said he and several co-defendants brought 10 women from Mexico, including minors, here to serve as prostitutes against their will.