Video shows awful conditions inside Houston brothel used in sex trade

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Friday, January 22, 2016
Video: Conditions inside Houston brothel used in sex trade
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A life sentence was handed to Hortencia Medels-Arguello for running a brothel for nearly two years. Now we're getting an inside look at the place.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Eyewitness News got an inside look into what a brothel on the east side of Houston looked like. There were 17 small rooms, condoms on the floor and a terrible dark secret for more than two decades.

"Absolute modern day slavery was occurring in Houston," FBI spokesperson Shauna Dunlap said.

Girls as young as 14 forced to have sex for money sometimes at gunpoint.

"There was a lot of young girls there all the time," said Ray Granados, who lives across the street.

Neighbors to the brothel on the 5600 block of Telephone said they suspected something but nothing quite like what the FBI and other authorities uncovered.

The main ring leader in all of this was 68-year-old Hortencia Medeles-Arguello. She had different aliases but went by the name "Tencha." She was convicted in 2015 by a federal jury and finally sentenced to life in federal prison on Wednesday.

"They're forced to have sex up to 50 times a day," said Kathy Griffin-Grinan.

Kathy Grinan knows the world of sex and human trafficking all too well.

"I was chained tied up fed dog food," she recalls.

She's a former victim who now works to help "modern day slavery" victims through a program called "Been there done that." Ericka Williams is one of them.

"It messes them up mentally physically it destroys your goals in life," said Williams.

The FBI said Houston is a main hub for human trafficking because of our proximity to the border. The young women who were locked up in the second floor of east end nightclub thought they were coming to America for a better life.

"It's so ugly deep and dark but it's real," said Williams about human trafficking.

The FBI is still looking for one man who was involved as a pimp, Alfonso Diaz Juarez. There is a $50,000 reward for his arrest. Authorities fear he could still be out there pimping young women. Call authorities if you've seen him.

If you want to report human trafficking or you're a victim call the 24/7 hotline at 888-373-7888. The city of Houston has plenty of resources available to survivors of human trafficking.

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