The legislature Thursday passed on first reading a measure that would levy a $1 exit tax to support a bureaucracy to oppose trafficking in persons.
A legislature said that only 20 percent of the money collected would go to administration. The bill does not make clear if the tax would apply to all exits or just those at international airports and sea ports where an exit tax already is collected.
This is the measure that makes illegal transporting persons for the purpose of prostitution even though prostitution is not treated as a criminal offense here.
The measure also established a four- to eight-year prison term for any one who promotes or realizes programs, campaigns or advertisements in whatever media characterizing Costa Rica as a tourist destination accessible for sexual exploitation of prostitution of persons of whatever age or sex.
The measure is No. 17.594. Lawmaker Annie Saborío Mora was quoted in a Partido Liberación Nacional news release saying that the tax would apply for entry and exits from the country. She also said that just 20 percent would be used for administration. the release said. Such an allocation did not seem to be in the bill that was approved. Frequently there are variations between what actually was approved and the copy of the current bill on the legislative Web site.
The measure is a rewrite that was submitted in March.
The concept has been in the works for several years, but this is the first time that it arrived at the full legislature for a vote. One more is required.
The measure would set up a national coalition against illegal immigration and trafficking in persons. Figuring prominently in the coalition is Fundación Rahab, the organization that has been going to nightspots with the Fuerza Pública trying to convince prostitutes to adopt other career paths.
Trafficking and other society ills is big business for a number of foundations that get money from the government and from international sources for advertising campaigns and social programs for former prostitutes.