MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico City authorities say a woman was chained to an ironing station at a dry-cleaning shop and forced to work in slave-like conditions for two years.
City prosecutors said Sunday the woman managed to escape and alerted police, who raided the shop.
Four women and one man who operated the shop face human trafficking charges for subjecting the 22-year-old woman to forced labor.
Prosecutors said the woman said the owners of the shop chained her by the neck or the waist to a metal frame, and beat her with a wrench, a rope and other objects, or burned her with an iron if she stopped working.
"When she leaned on the ironing board a little to rest, she was beaten," said prosecutor Juana Camila Bautista. "When the wounds healed over, they scraped the scabs off, and they had her like this for two years."
The woman's name was not released. She said she asked for a job at the shop and was given a place to live and was initially treated well.
But the owners accused her of stealing, and thereafter forced her to work with no pay. She said she received one small meal a day.
"She chewed the plastic they used to cover the garments ... to stop the hunger pangs," Bautista said.
The young woman eventually escaped, but is covered with scars and suffers severe and potentially life-threatening anemia. Authorities placed her at a shelter for women at risk of violence.