Tuesday 31 January 2023

Gang paid poor mothers to film porn with their daughters

The victims of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation are between 4 and 16 years old. Their mothers received between US$30 and US$100 in exchange for facilitating the minors.

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28 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – A Costa Rican surnamed Ulate Picado appears as suspected of leading a small group of Panamanian women, who offered their own daughters and nieces, aged 4 to 16, to record pornographic material.

Ulate is alleged to lead a gang dedicated to human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation of minors. (Courtesy of Immigration)

Likewise, they were in charge of contacting other mothers of girls and young women, most of whom had limited economic resources, and offered them between US$30 and US$100 in exchange for the minors being sexually exploited.

The case was revealed by the Immigration Police this Thursday, after a joint operation with the Deputy Prosecutor’s Office Against Trafficking in Persons and the Illicit Smuggling of Migrants and the Panamanian National Police to arrest Ulate and two Panamanian women, suspects in the crime of trafficking in persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation to the detriment of minors.

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Authorities of both countries have identified at least 14 victims.

Although it is unknown how long this group has been operating, authorities indicated that in December 2021 a complaint was filed with the Public Ministry of Panama, which immediately coordinated with U.S. Homeland Security.

Subsequently, the Panamanian Police worked together with Costa Rica’s immigration police, in a series of investigative procedures.

“Through this operation, the binational work carried out in full coordination and collaboration with the Panamanian Police is highlighted, based on the dismantling of this criminal organization, but above all, the rescue and protection of minors, victims of this crime, in an immediate action of investigation, analysis and joint work,” said Alonso Soto, deputy director of Costa Rica’s immigration police.

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In total, 12 raids were carried out, four in Costa Rica and eight in Panama, which allowed the detention of the suspects.

In Costa Rican territory, the operations were carried out in border communities in the southern zone, such as in San Jorge, El Sahino residential complex, in a mechanical workshop and in a house near the checkpoint of the National Border Service (Senafron) of Panama.

“The operations of the criminal organization were established in Paso Canoas, Corredores, Puntarenas and Panama (…). The leader, Ulate Picado, was in charge of coordinating with the Panamanian women the crossing of the border and the entry to Costa Rica.

“During the investigation, it was determined that the victims were transferred from Panamanian soil to the border between Costa Rica and Panama, a place where Ulate waited, received and transferred the victims to the workshop or to a house located in Corredores, both sites raided, where sexual abuse of minors was carried out and material with pornographic content was recorded,” explained the Professional Migration Police.

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Ulate faces charges for the crime of Trafficking in Persons for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation. This crime is punishable by a prison sentence of eight to 16 years with aggravating circumstances, in which they highlight that the victims are minors and were trafficked by their mothers, these being relatives in the first degree of consanguinity. No further arrests are ruled out in relation to this case.

Human trafficking is a crime in Costa Rica. Report any suspected activity to 2106 4005, 2106 4001 and 61632096 (WhatsApp) as well as to the email denunciatrataytrafico@migracion.go.cr.

Sources: La Nacion; Costa Rica immigration police, social networks

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