Tulsa couple accused of trafficking teen for labor

Stock photo of crime scene tape.
Stock photo of crime scene tape.

Credit: Richard Theis/EyeEm / Getty Images

Credit: Richard Theis/EyeEm / Getty Images

A husband and wife are in jail after police say they illegally brought a teen from Honduras and forced her to work for them.

Court papers say Ronald Rodriguez-Paz gave someone $5,000 to $6,000 to illegally smuggle the 15-year-old into the United States. Once she was granted refugee status this summer, Rodriguez-Paz sponsored her to come live with him in Tulsa.

Police say he forced the girl to become his housekeeper and full-time caretaker for his four minor children. He and his wife Eva Juarez allegedly didn’t pay her or enroll her into school.

The teen told officers Rodrigez-Paz was verbally abusive toward her and physically assaulted her, usually for housework not being done. He would also send her threatening messages or photos of a gun in his bedroom. He kept a gun in his waistband around the house.

Police say she was not allowed to leave the home without supervision or have any personal freedom and didn’t have access to any of her personal documents.

Police say Rodrigez-Paz got fake documents for the teen and got her to work in a restaurant. He kept the money she earned, saying she owed him for the money he spent getting her into the U.S.

Last month, the girl’s brother, who was in a refugee facility in Texas, was released, and he came to Tulsa to remove her from the home. Rodriguez-Paz reportedly sent threatening text messages to both the girl and her brother.

The girl told police she was afraid to ask for help from police or social workers because of the past abuse and the threats.

Rodrigquez-Paz and Juarez are now arrested on a charge of human trafficking for labor.