Thursday 23 September 2021

Brothers Suspected of Human Trafficking (Trata de Personas)

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Photo courtesy OIJ
Photo courtesy OIJ

QCOSTARICA – Two brothers owners of bars were arrested Friday night on suspicion of white slavery (trata de personas in Spanish) for sexual exploitation. According to the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), the men were arrested in Zapote and Guapiles.

Authorities say the suspects contacted women in the Dominican Republic and brought them to Costa Rica to work as prostitutes. The preliminary report indicates the women landed in Nicaragua and then travelled to Costa Rica, evading immigration controls, entering the country illegally.

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The police action on Friday ended a months long investigation that began with a confidential tip, linking the suspects to human trafficking.

Authorities say the women were put to work in the bars owned by the suspects,  in Guapiles and Cartago, where clients would pay ¢13,000 colones (US$25) for up to 30 minutes with the girls. For outcalls the charge as ¢60,000 colones (US$110 dollars).

The girls were given housing and worked the bars to repay their debt to the suspects and often moved between bars.

It was Friday night, around 11:00pm, when authorities, in separate actions, raided both bars, confiscating more than ¢3 million colones in cash, condoms and “important documentation” relative to the investigation.

The brother in Guapiles is 56, the other in Zapote is 65. Both are now facing a series of criminal charges.

Police did not comment on the status of the women.

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