After years of waiting, Friday morning the law against human trafficking was published in La Gaceta, the official government newsletter.
The legislation includes new provisions and raised the penalties for the trafficking of persons.
For example, in the case where the victim is a minor or a person with disabilities, the prison term is from 10 to 15 years, up from 6 to 10 in the 2009 amendment.
The law also lists human trafficking as a crime of organized crime and adds one dollar more to the “exit” tax – tax paid for leaving the country at the airports.
The increase tax will be used to strengthen and fight against human trafficking.
According to the immigration service, between 2009 and current, there have been 91 victims of this type of crime in Costa Rica.
The legislation had received second and final vote last November.
Human trafficking in Costa Rica (from Wikipedia)
Costa Rica is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution. To a lesser but increasing extent, Costa Rica is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to conditions of forced labour, particularly in the agriculture, construction, fishing, and domestic service sectors.
Costa Rican women and children are forced into commercial sexual exploitation within the country, and to a limited extent, in Nicaragua and Mexico. Women and girls from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Colombia, and Panama have been identified in Costa Rica as victims of forced prostitution.
Child sex tourism is a serious problem, particularly in the provinces of Guanacaste, Limon, Puntarenas, and San Jose. Child sex tourists arrive mostly from the United States, Germany, Sweden, and Italy. Young men from Nicaragua, Vietnam, China and other Asian countries, are subjected to conditions of forced labour in Costa Rica: during the reporting period, nine Vietnamese men were found in conditions of forced labor in the fishing industry. Costa Rica serves as a transit point for foreign nationals trafficked to Mexico, Canada, the United States, and Europe.
The Government of Costa Rica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the past year, the Government of Costa Rica continued to raise public awareness about human trafficking and trained many government officials, in addition to maintaining limited victim services. However, the government’s law enforcement efforts lagged with respect to holding trafficking offenders accountable for their crimes and in adequately addressing domestic cases of human trafficking.
The Government of Costa Rica sustained law enforcement efforts against human trafficking. The penal code prescribes penalties for the movement of persons both across borders and within the country for the purposes of prostitution, sexual or labor servitude, slavery, forced work or services, servile marriage, forced begging, or other forms of compelled service.
The statute also prohibits illegal adoption, which does not fall within the international definition of human trafficking. Sentences may be increased under aggravated circumstances, such as the victimization of a child or a trafficker’s use of deception, violence, intimidation, or coercion. The penalties set forth are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The penal code additionally prohibit child sex trafficking and authorizes the use of expanded law enforcement and investigative measures, such as wiretapping and the use of anticipated testimonies, when undertaking human trafficking cases.
Human trafficking around the world
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings mainly for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour. Trafficking is a lucrative industry. It is second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable illegal industry in the world.