Is prostitution legal in Costa Rica? The answer is “YES.” As has been pointed out in several articles in this publication, voluntary prostitution is legal in Costa Rica. I bring this up because I do not understand what right the Costa Rican authorities along with the Rahab Foundation have to raid the Del Rey and Key Largo to make the young ladies who work there fill out surveys. The fact of the matter is that these young ladies have not broken any laws and are being used by the Costa Rican authorities and the Rahab Foundation to appease the U.S. government. The girls who frequent the Del Rey and Key Largo do so voluntarily. There is no human trafficking.
The reason that the majority of these women are prostitutes is to feed their families. They are having babies at 15 years of age and there is no father or the children have multiple fathers. There is no husband(s), just children out of wedlock. I know a lot of these girls and generally speaking they are pretty nice people. They view their jobs from an economic standpoint. Simply put, they have to put food on their tables. They are not getting child support. They are making a lot of money compared to the average worker in Costa Rica and need every penny to feed their kids. It is a rarity to find a girl who has no children.
If the Rahab Foundation and the Costa Rican government are truly interested in these girls, then they should start with educating these poor families in the use of birth control and that having children out of wedlock means that they will likely be economically doomed. Where are the economic opportunities for these women in Costa Rica?
The Costa Rican government should actually build a shrine to these women as they bring in a lot of money into the country in the form of sex tourism. It has been estimated that about 200,000 people travel to Costa Rica annually as sex tourists. If the average tourist spends $1,500 then they are bringing in revenues to hotels, restaurants, etc, of approximately $30 million annually. Before Laura Chinchilla became president she always took a tough stand against legal prostitution and now that she is president she continues on her crusade along with the U.S. Embassy and the Rahab Foundation.
Besides the money that comes into the country via sex tourists, if legal prostitution was struck down in Costa Rica, downtown San Jose would become a ghost town and all the casino workers, hotel employees, and bartenders would find themselves out of work. Not to mention all the surrounding businesses like restaurants would be hurt badly.
San José and Miami