Human trafficking of minor in Delaware results in abuse, forced labor

Bryan ShupeHeadlines, Police & Fire

Department of Justice, Elsmere PD secure Delaware’s first-ever Forced Labor conviction

An Elsmere man will serve a lengthy prison sentence after pleading guilty to multiple felonies, including Delaware’s first conviction under a Forced Labor statute originally passed in 2014.

On October 13, Martin Ortiz-Lozano, 34, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of Child Abuse in the First Degree and one count of Human Trafficking a Minor – Forced Labor.

In September 2021, Ortiz-Lozano had his minor child brought to Delaware from Mexico and forced them to work hard labor, seven days a week. The child was not sent to school and was assaulted on a daily basis, resulting in facial fractures, a collapsed nasal passage, displaced teeth, and other injuries. Ultimately, the victim underwent an extremely long and complex surgery to repair the damage that was caused by the repeated abuse.




“Every child needs love and support,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “Instead, this victim was exploited by the person they needed the most. The violence and abuse that this child suffered were unthinkable; and while the child is now safe, there is still a long path to healing from this kind of trauma. I’m proud of the work that our team and our law enforcement partners did to bring the defendant to justice.”

This case was investigated by Det. Scott Sowden of the Elsmere Police Department, along with the Department of Justice. This conviction and sentence were secured by Deputy Attorney General Nikki Warner, Nurse Analyst Lauren Welling, Paralegal Jayna Quillen, Social Worker Bettina Jones, Investigator Guillermo Santiago, and Legal Assistant Luz Zermeno, with support from Investigation Coordinator of the Office of the Child Advocate Michael Cooksey.

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