Ringleader Gets 15 Years for Forced Child Labor

     (CN) — A Guatemalan man was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for luring children from South America to work on egg farms in Ohio, and his co-conspirator was given 10 years.
     Aroldo Castillo-Serrano, 33, pleaded guilty last year to labor trafficking charges, one count of witness tampering and an immigration offense. The federal government’s indictment accused him of recruiting workers from Guatemala by falsely promising them good jobs and an education in the United States.
     Those recruited were forced to work on egg farms in Marion, Ohio, for as many as 12 hours a day, prosecutors said.
     Ana Angelica Pedro-Juan, 22, also pleaded guilty earlier this year, admitting that she was part of the human trafficking scheme that targeted South American children as young as 14. The children were reportedly forced to clean chicken coops, load and unload crates of chickens, and de-beak and vaccinate chickens on Trillium Farms.
     On Monday, U.S. District Judge James Carr sentenced Castillo-Serrano to 188 months, or more than 15 years, in prison. He sentenced Pedro-Juan to 10 years.
     In addition to prison terms, the judge ordered Castillo-Serrano and Pedro-Juan to pay more than $67,000 in restitution to the victims.
     “These defendants forced minors to work around the clock and live in inhumane conditions, while threatening them and their relatives,” Northern Ohio U.S. Attorney Carole Rendon said in a statement. “Today’s prison sentence underscores the severity of these human trafficking cases, but also should serve as a reminder that these cases happen all around us in plain sight.”

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