It's one of the more bizarre accounts of modern-day slavery: A Florida woman held a Mexican woman prisoner for more than two years and repeatedly tried to impregnate her using her own boyfriend's sperm, People reports. Esthela Clark, 47, paid smugglers to ferry the then-22-year-old woman over the border from her native Guadalajara in late 2012. Prosecutors say the unnamed victim thought she was collecting $4,000 to act as a surrogate under medical supervision, but told investigators Clark forbade her from leaving her one-bedroom condo in Jacksonville—where Clark injected her up to four times a day with syringes filled with sperm from her boyfriend's used condoms. When no pregnancy resulted, the woman says Clark forced her to have sex with two strangers.
Prosecutors say the victim lost 65 pounds after Clark restricted her diet to only beans, thinking excess weight was to blame for a failure to conceive. She warned the victim she "would be killed" if she ventured out into what Clark told her was a violent neighborhood, and that Tarot cards would reveal any secrets she tried to keep, per court documents. Prosecutors say Clark isolated the victim from her family, which Action News Jax reports included a child, and forced her to clean and work in restaurants, with Clark pocketing her wages. Clark was arrested in mid-2015 after a neighbor spotted the woman washing cars and noticed signs of abuse, per the Florida Times-Union. She pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to a sole charge of forced labor. Clark faces up to 20 years in prison and will be sentenced next month. (A British woman was held for 13 years as a sex slave.)