A young woman in Mexico City has escaped alleged slave-like conditions at a dry cleaners where she was chained, beaten and forced to work for two years, authorities have reported.
According to public prosecutors in the Mexican capital, the 22-year old woman was chained by the neck and waist to her ironing station and beaten when she wouldn't work.
The victim, who goes by the name Zunduri to protect her identity, revealed the extent of her wounds to Mexican NGO Committee United Against Human Trafficking where she recounted her ordeal.
She alleges that after years of forced labour she got a chance to escape when the lock on her chain was not fastened properly.
"The lock wasn't properly closed and I escaped via the bathroom in the business," she said.
Zunduri used money from a shirt at the dry cleaners to take a taxi to police. Five people have been arrested and are facing trafficking charges. The young woman is under the care of a shelter for women in Mexico City.
Rosi Orozco, the president of the Committee United Against Human Trafficking, said that Zunduri's will to escape saw her through the ordeal.
"'Zunduri' is a woman with a strong character and this allowed her to survive such extreme mistreatment. She said, 'I am not afraid, I knew that one day I'll be able to escape. They hit me but I knew that I could escape and I fought to escape'."
Orozco's NGO has helped reunite Zunduri with her mother and family.
According to media, the 22-year-old got into an argument with her family and left home. She applied for a job at the dry cleaners which had initially treated her well until owners reportedly accused her of stealing and stopped paying her. That is when the torture is alleged to have begun.
Orozco campaigns against human trafficking in Mexico City. She warned that many young women who leave home are often at the mercy of human traffickers.
"Her goal is to start and walk in the steps of activism because she said, 'I don't want this to happen to anyone else. I want young women to understand that when they leave their homes as adolescents that you are at risk'. Many young people don't understand that fighting with your mother and leaving home can put you in the hands of predators, of vultures of this type that was capable of manipulating her to later enslave her," she said.
According to the Global Slavery Index in 2014 by the Walk Free Foundation, Mexico has the highest number of people living in slave-like conditions in the Americas with more than 265,000 subjected to some form of modern slavery.