A Texas woman was recently convicted of harboring illegal Mexican women in her home where she forced them into slave labor for her business. She kept the two Mexican women in her home for 14 years, and during that time she repeatedly violated their humanity in multiple ways. 64-year-old Olga Sandra Murra was convicted of two counts of harboring illegal aliens and two counts of forced labor. The statement regarding her conviction was released by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Murra was actually born in Mexico herself, and she relocated to the United States in 1997. She first settled in El Paso, Texas, and she brought with her a single woman who was only identified to the public by her initials, V.R. Murra then moved to Fort Worth, where she stayed. After about a year of living in Fort Worth with her single slave, she arranged to have a second slave brought to her in the United States. The second slave was only identified as I.G., and Murra held on to the legal documents for both women, effectively stopping them from leaving.
Murra owned a house cleaning business at the time, and the two women were forced to help clean houses every day. They would be responsible for completely cleaning three or four houses every single day, including weekends. The women were also responsible for keeping the private home of Murra clean, as well as cooking her meals. The slaves were forced to cook food that they were never allowed to eat since they were fed water and bread alone. Murra did not pay the women for their labor, and every cent that was earned through the house cleaning business went back to Murra. The slave owner even forced the woman known as I.G. to work in the service industry using falsified identification.
The two slaves were forced to sleep on the floor of Murra’s bedroom within her home. When they misbehaved or did anything that Murra didn’t like, they were forced to sleep in the laundry room, the garage, and even in the back yard. They were told not to speak with anyone other than Murra, and they had to ask her every time they needed to use the bathroom. Murra was able to keep such a strong hold over the women by using a combination of real and implied violence along with religious conditioning.
The slaver told her two slaves that she was actually God’s voice brought to Earth, and she recorded herself reading verses from the Bible so that her slaves could listen to and discuss them while working during the day. Murra taught the two women that any disobedience on their part would lead to their eternal damnation in a pit of fire. There were multiple occasions when Murra threatened the slaves with calls to the local immigration office. She told the two women that they would be buried in a field by the immigration officials if they were discovered.
Labor trafficking is the second most common type of human trafficking in the world, with sex slavery and trafficking topping the list by some margin. Of the nearly 6,000 cases of reported human trafficking, roughly 720 of them were related to forced laborers. Most forced laborers are those serving in domestic situations like the one described here, and Mexico is generally responsible for such levels of international cases.
The sentencing phase of Murra’s trial is set for November. She faces up to 60 years in prison and $1 million in damages and fines. The women she kept as slaves are safe now, but the human trafficking problem is far from solved.