CNN on Friday reported that a Colombian mother of 12 teen girls tried to sell her daughters' virginity online to scrape by and pay bills.
Margarita de Jesus Zapata Moreno, 45, was arrested this week together with a 51-year-old contractor who police believe impregnated one of the young daughters.
Zapata was turned over to the police by one of her daughters over a year ago and has a child as a result of the alleged sexual abuse. The victims’ testimonies indicated that the mother drugged the minors and forced them to have sexual relations with the men.
The investigation took more than a year to complete because the only witness willing to testify, the 14-year-old girl, now 16, disappeared, apparently because she feared her mother would kill her for going to the police.
Authorities also say the suspect would begin selling her daughters to men as soon as the girls turned 12 years old. She charged anywhere between 300,000 and 400,000 Colombian Pesos ($160 to $212) for a virgin.
Tito Cornelio Daza, 51, was also detained and is believed to have abused at least one of the daughters.
Daza and Zapata deny the daughter’s accusations, but have been arrested and could face up to 25 years in prison, El Tiempo reports.
Authorities say one of the suspect's daughters forced into prostitution gave birth to a baby boy when she was 14. She had refused her mother's orders to have an abortion, and after going to police, went into hiding.
According to authorities, only two of Margarita de Jesus Zapata Moreno's 14 children were not forced into prostitution. They were the two youngest -- an 11-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl -- and they have been placed in the custody of a Colombian government child protection agency.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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