A battered women’s shelter in Mexico is at the center of a human trafficking, abuse, and forced prostitution investigation, where a woman thought to be “a charitable soul” has been accused of abusing the women of the shelter.
Soledad Griensen Porras, 55, is being accused of forcing a number of women into prostitution and holding them against their will at the Mujeres Unidas contra la Violencia (Women United Against Violence). Some even claim Griensen punished them by putting chile on their private parts.
Many in the community are shocked to hear these allegations, as Griensen is known to donate food and blankets to those in need, and is said to regularly fight for women’s rights.
However, according to police, while everything looked copacetic, the women say men routinely came to the shelter soliciting sex, for which Griensen requested payment. Others claim they were forced to pay her in order to leave the shelter.
When officers searched the shelter, they say they found pornographic material, though it is unclear what exactly was found.
A neighbor who asked to remain anonymous told the El Paso Times she knew the community saw Griensen as the woman who gave the less fortunate groceries, blankets and toys, but she saw how Griensen was when in or around the shelter, which not only helps battered women, but is said to help those with substance abuse issues.
“I’m not going to tell you she was a nice person,” she told the Times. “Outside, she helped a lot, but she didn’t treat well the people inside.”
The unnamed neighbor said she once heard from one of the girls in the shelter that the place was “hell” and once had her hair shaved off for misbehaving.
But while this neighbor is not entirely surprised by the accusations against Griensen, others are having trouble believing them.