Judicial agents make an arrest in Upala sex slavery case

A tale of true slavery is being reported from northern Costa Rica. Judicial investigators characterize the case as one of sexual and labor exploitation.

Although Costa Rica puts a great emphasis on exploitation, such cases of slavery are infrequent. The last so-called slavery case involved a teen working in the Chinese restaurant of her relatives.

The latest case that comes from Upala near the Nicaraguan border describes a nightmare of a 27-year-old woman who was lured to Costa Rica with the promise of work.

The Nicaraguan woman also was promised a place to live, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization. A coyote, a man dedicated to importing illegal workers brought the women to a bar in San José de Upala.

There she reported that she was threatened with a firearm by the 60-year-old bar owner, according to the judicial report.

She was forced to have sexual relations with customers of the establishment and to work without pay as a waitress, said the agency.

The woman also was threatened with deportation if she left the bar, the investigators reported.

At 10 a.m. Thursday agents showed up at the bar and took the owners into custody in the Popoyoapa section of the Upala community. They also searched the man’s home. Investigators said they recovered a firearm.

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