Esthela Clark, 47, has admitted to having promised to pay $3000 to a 26-year-old Mexican woman to serve as a surrogate mother. Clark paid smugglers to bring the woman across the border into the United States and then held her captive for two years while also trying to impregnate her with a male companion’s sperm.
Clark told the young Mexican woman that the insemination process would be a medical procedure overseen by physicians, promising that the surrogate could return home to Mexico eventually. According to reports, Clark then tried to inseminate the woman with Rolando Castellanas’ sperm as many as four times each day while she was ovulating.
However, when the Mexican woman did not conceive a child, Clark then prostituted her and forced her to keep the men’s used condoms so that she would inseminate herself.
Clark began abusing the woman in March 2013, forcing her to sleep in bleach and strip when it was believed she had been stealing. The abductor also starved the woman, feeding her only canned beans, and striking her with a metal rod. Clark also threatened to harm the victim’s family if she tried escape. When the victim’s family called from Mexico, Clark instructed her to say that she was well. Clark was arrested in 2015 and has been in jail since then.
When a member of Clark’s church suspected that the woman was being abused, the victim was rescued.
Clark is originally from Guadalajara in Nuevo Leon state in Mexico. She has pleaded guilty to forced labor on Monday after striking a deal with prosecutors. She is facing up to 20 years in prison and possible deportation if immigration authorities can prove that she entered the United States illegally.
Court documents indicate that the victim came to Florida in December 2012, after crossing the border in Texas. Smugglers took her to Jacksonville, Florida, where Clark took her to the one-bedroom apartment she shared with a teenaged son and Castellanas. The victim was forced to sleep on the floor of the dining area of the apartment, while Clark’s son slept on a couch. Clark and Castellanas slept in the bedroom.
Clark has other adult children who live in Mexico, while the victim has a child of her own.