Leonel Harari Charged With Human Trafficking, Smuggling, More
BOCA RATON, FL (Boca Post) (Copyright © 2023) — A Boca Raton man was arrested for human trafficking after a Cuban woman says she was forced to have sex with men to pay him for being in the US.
A lengthy arrest report indicates that Harari, along with a co-defendant, was involved in the smuggling of a Cuban woman into the US. The woman admitted to investigators that she arrived in the US illegally in November by way of the Mexico/Arizona border. After a brief encounter with Border Patrol and a short stay at a holding facility, she was soon to be on a plane to Palm Beach County, FL.
The woman was under the impression that she would pay $33,000 – $35,000 dollars for the migration. She was told she would quickly make this money back by working in Palm Beach County strip clubs where she would dance in the nude for money, a concept that was new to her. Her newfound debt quickly increased to an even more outrageous number.
The suspects reassured the victim that she would be able to pay back her debt on a $7,500 monthly payment plan easily by working in the local Palm Beach County strip clubs. Investigators note that this was during the “grooming” phase. It was also during this phase that the suspects told the victim how to talk to men while inside the club. She was then introduced to the idea that she had to have sex with the men for money in the clubs.
After the victim paid the suspect approximately $14,000 in 5 months, she says her debt actually increased to $55,000. The suspects, who were also withholding the woman’s legal documents and identification, made her sign a promissory note for the debt. The woman told investigators that she feared for the safety of her children in Cuba. The victim ultimately reported the situation to law enforcement.
While investigators were listening on the phone, one of the suspects told the victim “Obviously you don’t want to pay, what you are doing is disappearing”. Investigators say that Harari and the others involved are exploiting a third-world country in order to gain monetarily.
Leonel Harari was arrested and charged with the following:
- 787.06(3B) HUMAN TRAFFICKING
- 787.07(1) HUMAN SMUGGLING ILLEGAL
- 934.215 UNLAWFUL USE OF TWO-WAY COMMUNICATIONS
- 796.05(1) DERIVING SUPPORT FROM PROCEEDS OF PROSTITUTION
- 914.22(1A) WITNESS TAMPERING
- 812.014(2C1) THEFT UNDER $1000
A 2nd suspect, who has not yet been identified, trais also expected to be arrested and charged.