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Mexico. The former miss was to force women to slave labour, abuse and torture them

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The Mexican prosecutor’s office has filed an indictment against former Miss Puebla Maria Hilda, better known as Lili Bustillos. The woman is accused of exploiting indigenous women in the Puebla region for slave labour, as well as mentally and physically abusing them. Until the end of the trial, the accused remains in custody.

The first accusations against the Bustillos came to light last April, when one of the women allegedly forced to work in the home of a former miss, known in the media as Tere, managed to escape. The woman then submitted a notification to the local Office of the Attorney General (FGE). Soon, more people started speaking up. In recent years, the victims of the Mexican woman were to fall from five to even 15 people.

Tere on Lili Bustillos: she beat me with a hammer, burned my hands in a frying pan

In an interview with the Expansion Politica portal, Tere spoke about the details of her work for Lili Bustillos. As she reported, she decided to take up employment due to the difficult economic situation of her family. She was 16 at the time. Although the women had earlier agreed on Tere’s salary at 4,000 pesos (equivalent to about PLN 950), Bustillos was to stop paying Tere after two weeks, maintaining that she first had to learn to do her job well.

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According to Tere’s story, she was forced to work unpaid for 19 hours a day. “I went through hell every day,” she says. In order to prevent the 16-year-old from escaping, the former Miss Puebla was to lock her in the house every time she left it. “She threatened me, I was very scared, so I didn’t try to run away,” Tere explains to Expansion Politica.

In addition to psychological violence, Bustillos was also alleged to have used physical violence, sometimes even torture. – She hit me with a hammer. She also burned my hands in the frying pan,” the victim said. She adds that corporal punishment was used in her case for reasons such as not sweeping the floor thoroughly or breaking a cup. As the victim tells the Mexican portal, she was also deprived of access to food.

SEE ALSO: UN: Increasing numbers of people forced into modern forms of slavery

The teenager explains that she managed to escape from the Bustillos estate with the help of a neighbor who was aware of the violence that was allegedly taking place in the former beauty pageant contestant’s home. The escape took place on the morning of April 22, 2022. Immediately after this, Tere went to the local Attorney General’s Office, where she filed a notice of the case. “Tere was forcibly held as a slave for several years. She was beaten with a hammer, Bustillos inflicted injuries on her with a hacksaw, and also injured her with other objects. The day she (Tere) escaped, she had not eaten for over two weeks and was in extremely poor physical condition,” said the non-governmental organization Red de Formadoras Kualinemilis AC in a statement quoted by the Daily Star portal.

Testimonies from other Bustillos victims

Tere’s account corresponds to the testimony of another victim, which Red de Formadoras Kualinemilis AC made public in a press release. “(Bustillos) took me to her house with the promise of a job. I needed her badly, so I took her. When Bustillos went on vacation, she left me locked up and I couldn’t eat her food. She never paid me I tried to commit suicide twice with the cleaning products I used to clean her bathroom,” she wrote. Another victim testified that she saw Bustillos pour hot oil on another woman’s face.

According to members of the organization, the number of victims of the former miss – whom the Mexican media calls “miss torture” – should be estimated at at least five. In turn, according to the neighbors of Bustillos, up to 15 women may have been harmed by her.

Lili Bustillos – the arrest and trial of former Miss Puebla

Although the notification of the possibility of committing a crime by Bustillos was sent to the Mexican prosecutor’s office in April last year, the woman remained at large for the next 11 months. She was arrested for the first time on March 9, 2023, but due to a court decision questioning the legality of her detention, she was released the next day. She was recaptured on March 18.

SEE ALSO: More sentences for forcing over 400 Poles to slave labor in Great Britain

Six days later, prosecutors filed an indictment against the former Miss Puebla. She is currently in custody in San Miguel. The date of completion of the proceedings in her case is not yet known. As the members of the Red de Formadoras Kualinemilis AC emphasize, they hope that during the trial, “justice will be meted out not only for Tere, but for all indigenous Mexican women who became victims of this woman.”

Processo, Expansion Politica, fiscalia.puebla.gob.mx, Daily Star

Main photo source: Twitter/@proceso

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