Margarita de Jesus Zapata Moreno, 45, a Colombian mother of 14, was arrested this week on charges that she sent her daughters into "hell" by selling their virginity for a few hundred dollars to make ends meet.
The Bogota Metropolitan Police noted in a CNN report that Zapata sold the virginity of her 12 daughters to much older men with a desire to have sex with young virgins. She was caught this week with a 51-year-old contractor suspected of impregnating one of her young daughters.
According to the report, Zapata would begin shopping her daughter around as soon as they turned 12 years old and charged men between $160 and $212 for each sale.
When asked, "Did you prostitute your daughters?" by a reporter on Wednesday, Zapata replied: "No, my darling."
Authorities explained that they began investigating the case after one of Zapata's daughter's came forward with the allegation. The daughter gave birth to a baby boy when she was 14 after she refused to have an abortion ordered by her mother.
"She was a minor and she still had the courage to report the abuse and also to refuse to have an abortion. That's when this investigation started, from the threats of her own mother," Colonel Carlos Melendez, a Bogota Metropolitan Police spokesman, told CNN.
Police say it took more than a year to complete the investigation because the daughter, their only witness, had disappeared out of fear her mother would kill her. The girl who is now 16, has since come out of hiding and told police about a man who had sex with her and got her pregnant.
The 51-year-old man who fathered her son when she was 14 and was arrested along with her mother declined to comment on the case.
Police are hoping that the other daughters will come forward to help their investigation.
"Those who are watching or listening to us, we would like to ask them to come to the police so that they give us information about [what] transpired in this case," said Melendez.
The only two of Zapata's children who were not forced into prostitution are the youngest of her brood – an 11-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl. They are now in government custody.