Another police sweep seeks to change lifestyle of prostitutes

Police agencies, accompanied by a non-profit organization, were out in force Friday night seeking evidence of human trafficking. Volunteers of the organization, Fundación Rahab, were trying to talk women out of a life of prostitution.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that its anti-trafficking unit, local representatives of the International Police Agency and the Policía Municipal questioned 100 woman and 150 men at various locations in San José.

There were 70 Costa Rican women, 20 Nicaraguans, five Dominicans, one Honduran and four Colombians, judicial agents reported. Agents did not report finding any situations of human trafficking, but they did detain one man who was the subject of an outstanding warrant, they said. Others were cited for being in the country without permission. They have to visit the offices of the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería.

Agents said that the foreign women all were legal because they had contracted marriage with a Costa Rican. This is a convenient ploy for foreign professional women who want to stay in Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, the Rahab volunteers were reported to be trying to convince the woman to give up their current lifestyle in exchange for free courses in cooking, computers, and fashion design. Some of the women agreed to take the classes, said agents.

In previous sweeps agents required women to fill out a questionnaire with contact information. Agents did not talk about this in the Friday operation, but they did say they had gathered information related to investigations that have been going on for several months.

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