The monument of "Diana La Cazadora" is illuminated in red on the eve of the commemoration of the World Day of the Fight against AIDS in Mexico City on November 30, 2017. AFP / YURI CORTEZ
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Mario Garfias never thought twice when he pulled out his baseball bat, nicknamed Panchito, to beat the women and teenage girls that he used as prostitutes in Mexico City's red light district of La Merced. Together with his younger brother Enrique and mother Esperanza, Garfias was a sex trafficker.For nearly eight years, the trio inflicted terror over young women and girls, whom the brothers referred to as "merchandise". Garfias and his five brothers grew up hungry, in a home where domestic violence was everyday.Within a year Garfias was running a lucrative business employing his brothers and mother.It would take Garfias, now 39, and his brother Enrique just a few weeks to lure a woman in with false promises of a better future.The brothers preyed on women who came from poor and troubled homes where domestic and/or sexual violence was rife.Enrique was considered the "consoler," the more gentle and dashing brother, while Mario was the violent one.In 2016, 228 people were convicted of trafficking under Mexico's 2012 anti-human trafficking law, up from 86 traffickers in 2015 .Since leaving prison, Mario Garfias said he has found five of his victims and asked for forgiveness.
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