MEXICO CITY — Four people have been arrested after 21 patients at a Mexico City rehab center were rescued after being tortured and constrained to forced labor, local authorities said on Thursday. Jesús Rodríguez Almeida of the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office said the victims were admitted to the UNI Partner Groups Rehabilitation Center, which is located in the Providencia neighborhood in the city’s Azcapotzalco delegation. The victims were allegedly forced to carry out domestic labor in other cities. Security forces rescued them on Wednesday after a woman who had been held at the center since last June was able to notify the Attorney General’s Office. The four people arrested were in charge of the rehabilitation center, officials said. The suspects were identified as Cecilia Fraustro Sánchez, the center’s administrator, as well as Esteban Chávez Barrera, Jorge Díaz Martínez and Salvador Molina Mendoza. According to the victims, they were taken to the cities of Abasolo, located in the state of Guanajuato, and Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos state, to carry out domestic chores at different homes in high-end neighborhoods. At least eleven of the victims said they were forced into labor without pay and, if they refused to do so, they would be placed under cold showers for two hours without allowing them to change clothes afterwards. Others were showered with chlorine and detergents, causing skin damage and infections. The operations were discovered after one of the victim’s mother, who was paying the rehab center 1,000 pesos ($77) per month plus weekly charges of an additional 250 pesos ($20) for expenses, was not allowed to pick up her daughter or see her after the scheduled six-month program had ended. Also this week, Mexico City’s Public Ministry was notified after three people died at an Alcoholic Anonymous center in the city’s Gustavo A. Madero delegation. Authorities arrested Mauro David Briseño and later charged him with multiple homicides. According to reports, Briseño neglected medical attention to patients and only offered them tea to treat abdominal pains, which led to congestion of internal organs and ultimately, their deaths.
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