The sexual exploitation of persons for commercial purposes is increasing and is the most common way in which the crime of trafficking in persons manifests itself in Costa Rica.
Between 2010 and 2018 there were 211 cases, that is, more than 26 per year or on average one case every 15 days.
The majority of victims are women, national or foreign, who due to their level of education, poverty and vulnerability are attracted by false offers of modeling, casting, and other hooks.
This was confirmed by the director of the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), Wálter Espinoza, during the opening ceremony of the international congress on trafficking in persons that brought together in San José experts and members of police forces from several countries in the region this Monday and Tuesday.
“The ignorance and the lack of money are taken advantage of by groups of ‘mafiosi’ who recruit people from economically depressed regions, as well as from the capital, to plunge them into this environment that constitutes a new form of slavery,” said the police chief.
In addition to prostitution, in Costa Rica, many are subjected to forced labor or begging by criminal organizations that deprive them of their freedom. There is even a case of trafficking for organ traffikcing.
Last year the OIJ dismantled a network involving photographers, which was accused of producing child pornography with at least 26 victims aged between 11 and 17 years. The case is awaiting trial.
Following is a graphic produced by La Nacion from data by the OIJ, Fiscalia and the CONATT.
“There are more massage parlors, there is more activity of prostitution, there are centers and houses already known by the Costa Rican population where sexual services are sold and many of the young people who are there are forced to carry out this activity. They do not want to participate but they have a debt or a threat that forces them to (be there), “Espinoza said.
Worldwide, it is estimated that there are 21 million people per year are trafficked through networks, of which 70% are women.