QCOSTARICA – The “World’s Most Famous Sex Tourist”, David Strecker, known by his followers as “Cuba Dave”, will have his day in court in November.
Strecker faces up to 12 years in prison on three charges that include promoting the Costa Rica as an easy destination for commercial sexual exploitation.
Strecker is being called the “World’s Most Famous Sex Tourist” by VICE.com, in an article published September 14, 2016.
Strecker was detained at the San Jose airport on September 4, 2015. Thinking he was only having to answer a few questions before he could board his flight home to Florida. Strecker never made his flight home, rather, he’s been behind bars ever since.
Costa Rica, as many other countries, likes to hold foreigners facing criminal proceedings in its jails until trial.
Strecker is being charged under is part of a 2013 Human Trafficking Law that, among other things, prohibits the use of any media to promote the country as a “tourist destination accessible for the exploitation of sexual commerce or for the prostitution of persons of any sex or age.”
The prosecution claims that the blog CubaDave.com, was “created to advise the single male tourist” with the aim that “it takes advantage of the legal prostitution industry,” says VICE.
In Costa Rica, prostitution is not illegal – different from being “legal” as it is often mislabeled in the media and streets. Pimping (proxenetismo in Spanish), however, is illegal.
Strecker’s lawyer, Luis Diego Chacón, said he’s confident that the case will be dismissed in the trial set to begin November, since the sex tourism law was meant to combat organized human-trafficking groups, not bloggers.
Fernando Ferraro, a former Costa Rican justice minister who sponsored the 2013 law, told VICE that it was designed to prevent illegal dealings, like sex slaves and child sex workers. A 2016 US State Department report found that child sex tourism was a “serious problem” in the country and that it remains a common destination for trafficking victims.
“Certainly the country has to protect its image as a tourist destination,” Ferraro said. “But it’s not just a matter of image. A lot of times criminal organizations, or human traffickers, are connected to the prostitution industry,” said Ferraro.
Strecker told VICE that his website was nothing more than a travel blog created to advise the single male tourist, but prosecutors say he was purposefully promoting the country to fellow gringos to come and take advantage of the legal pay-for-sex industry. “The criminal case began after various publications were found on the internet made by the suspect in which he was apparently inviting other North Americans to visit Costa Rica, indicating that prostitution services in the country were easy to find,” a spokesperson from the prosecutor’s office told VICE via email.
Before starting his blog, Strecker told VICE he had received “hundreds of emails from tourists asking for advice on the best friendly hotels with prostitutes and safer neighbourhoods for gringos. Instead of answering each one, he used his website (blog) to give his advice.
With notes from VICE.com