Mum 'sold' virginity of 12 daughters for $250 each

Mum 'sold' virginity of 12 daughters for $250 each
Suspect Margarita de Jesus Zapata Moreno (left) with Colombian police.

COLOMBIA - Only a heartless mother could do this.

A Colombian woman has been arrested after selling her 12 young daughters' virginities for £125 (S$250) each, police have said. The woman, Margarita de Jesus Zapata Moreno, 45, was detained in the Colombian capital Bogota earlier this week, after one of her daughters, who is 16 and was pregnant, got in touch with the police, UK's The Independent reported.

The report said that the girl was angry after her mother forced her to abort the child.

Tito Cornelio Daza, 51, who is reported to be the baby's father, is also being held.

Zapata, who has 14 children in total, sold the virginity of each child once they hit the age of 12, according to the Colombian broadcaster Univision.

The mother, who faces 10 years in jail if convicted, is alleged to have forced her daughters to work as prostitutes to pay the family's bills.

"It hurts that a mother would do this," said local police chief Carlos Melendez, .

"The mother contacted highly solvent but depraved men so they could have sex with the minors when they turned 12," he told reporters.

Zapata, who denies the allegations, is being held at El Buen Pastor Womens' Prison, while Daza is in custody at Modelo Prison. Both have been accused of carnal abuse of a minor under 14 years old, in addition to prostitution.

Two of her children who have not been subjected to forced prostitution, an 11-year-old boy and a girl aged nine, are understood to be in the care of social services, the report said.

The girl who reported her mother is now getting help from Colombia's Family Welfare Institute.

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