Trio held in trafficking case involving foreign prostitutes

Agents detained two foreigners and a Costa Rican Thursday on allegations that they were engaged in trafficking in persons.

Investigators said that the trio were involved in a night club where prostitution services were offered.

The Poder Judicial identified the men with their last names and their nationalities as Caicedo of Colombia, Mazid of Egypt and Sánchez, a Costa Rican.

There were little details released. However, the case is in the hands of the organized crime prosecutor.

The prosecutor is seeking three months preventative detention for the men, the Poder Judicial said.

The Judicial Investigating Organization conducted five raids Thursday to detain the men.

The information provided by the Poder Judicial is vague. Most strip clubs in Costa Rica are centers of prostitution. And most contain small bedrooms that are rented to customers. Law enforcement has overlooked this pimping tradition for years. Prostitution is not penalized in Costa Rica, but pimping is supposed to be a crime.

Costa Rica is in the process of considering new legislation on human trafficking, but the law, as written, does not contain a definition. Consequently, trafficking in Costa Rica could be considered driving a bus containing illegal Nicaraguan immigrants or forcing women to work as prostitutes.

The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime defines trafficking as the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them. It also includes smuggling of immigrants as human trafficking.

Costa Rica’s proposed legislation lacks the aspects of force, fraud or deception.

The men who were detained Thursday are believed to have been in the business of supervising the arrival of foreign women who then worked as prostitutes. If the women were brought here illegally, the actions are crimes under the immigration law regardless of whether the women worked as prostitutes.

Costa Rican law enforcement has increased its efforts against human trafficking, and A.M. Costa Rica has reported that this probably is due to the desire to obtain good marks from the United States in this year’s human trafficking report. The U.S. State Department puts out such a report in June each year. The State Department has placed Costa Rica on what is called Tier Two watch list for human trafficking.

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