Two men in Richmond, California have been arrested on charges of human trafficking. Eulogio Constantino-Sanchez and a male relative were booked in Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez on suspicion of rape(CA Penal Code 261), kidnapping (CA Penal Code 207), and false imprisonment (CA Penal Code 236). The alleged victim, a native of Nicaragua, was purportedly convinced to come to the U.S. in hope of a better life. Police say that the men imprisoned her in a closet and sexually assaulted (CA Penal Code 243.4(a)) and abused her.
Neighbors and relatives of Constantino-Sanchez do not believe the allegations against him because this type of behavior is not consistent with the man they know. They described the relationship very differently from what authorities portrayed, saying the woman was free to do what she wanted and even held a job at a hotel.
The Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition, allege, that many immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking a better life are often targeted by people who take advantage of their labor or worse.
Detectives allege that the woman had met the men on Facebook and promised her a job. They then persuaded her to leave Nicaragua and come to the United States in order to pursue a better life.
Neighbors have described Constantino-Sanchez as a friendly and hardworking man. He has lived in Richmond for five years and leaves for his construction job every day at 6 a.m. They said that he had been helping out the young woman and that she came and went at what seemed at will. Neighbors remember them going out to eat together, and the woman constantly walked around the neighborhood alone to buy groceries. One neighbor said, “The police got the story wrong.” Another neighbor, Cindy Torres, said that Constantino-Sanchez and the woman were “always lovey-dovey.” The man's niece said that he had gotten a cleaning job for the woman at the Sheraton hotel and would take her to work, as would another neighbor.
There are no clear indications or evidence of Constantino-Sanchez physically abusing or sexually assaulting this woman. Neighbors and relatives of the suspect said that the woman was able to come and go freely. Until further evidence surfaces, there seems to be little that proves that this man has been trafficking the woman.