But the job is very real especially for those who are saved by the agents committed to the bureau.
Thirty-five year-old Maritza Conde, a Puerto Rican mother and wife from a working class background, decided to apply to become an FBI agent after working as an attorney for a few years in the commonwealth island. She was accepted into the agency and her current job description with the FBI is fighting against human trafficking, the illegal buying and selling of people. Everyday she tries to protect those who are helpless and vulnerable in the seedy, urban jungle of the Space City.
Conde, a member of the Houston Operations Office, gave us a little bit of her time so we could pick her brain and learn about her experience.
Photo by Don Juan Corzo
Houston Examiner: What motivated you to become an FBI agent?
Maritza Conde: I’d always wanted to be part of the FBI ever since I was a child and watched them on TV shows or movies. I was also very interested in criminal investigation and, actually, I became a lawyer first.
After I graduated from college with a bachelor’s in political science, I applied to attend law school and to work for the FBI at the same time in 1992.
The FBI called a year later but I told them I wanted to finish working on my law degree. I graduated in 1997 and practiced law for about eight years and I decided to apply with the agency again.
Law gives you the knowledge of the interaction with people y that’s a great advantage in the FBI, even more if you’re bilingual, since they prefer people that speak more than one language. The physical training was intense, but they also prepare you in many other aspects.
MC: It’s much graver than I thought or anyone can imagine it because for every case we find, there are thousands we don’t know about. Usually, victims tend to be minorities or foreigners, but we also see Americans that are exploited like runaway teenagers. But there’s confusion between what the community considers trafficking of undocumented aliens and trafficking to enslave people. In the traffic with the purpose to exploit, the criminal keeps a commercial relation with the victim like cases of prostitution. Typically, women are forced into prostitution for an outstanding debt or threatened to kill their family.
For more info: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22056066/page/3/
The interview with FBI agent Maritza Conde was conducted in 2008.