Trafficked Victim Allowed to Remain in US

A Mexican woman who served 22 years in prison for the murder of the man who bought and raped her in 1976 was released and allowed to remain in the United States after pressure from various human rights group and members of Congress. According to the Associated Press, Maria Suarez was sold into sex slavery for $200 to a 68-year-old man, Anselmo Covarrubias, when she was 16 years old.

Suarez endured years of being beaten and raped until 1981 when she found her neighbor bludgeoning Covarrubias to death. Suarez helped her neighbor hide the weapon and as a result was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Suarez was granted parole last year with the law stating that she would have to be deported back to Mexico after her release. Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) mobilized other members of Congress to grant Suarez a visa and to send letters to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, reports the Associated Press.

Suarez was granted a T-visa that was created in 2000 for victims of severe forms of human trafficking.

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Associated Press 5/26/04; San Francisco Chronicle 5/26/04

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