Osa pair held on allegation they forced woman into prostitution

Immigration police and prosecutors detained a Dominican couple Wednesday in Venecia de Palmar Norte, Cantón de Osa, and said that they were suspects in a human trafficking case.

Law enforcement officials showed up at the bar Las Vegas that the couple run there.

The couple are accused specifically of bringing a woman from the Dominican Republic last year, smuggling her into the country and then forcing her to work as a prostitute. The Poder Judicial said that the presumed victim was malnourished and had been treated badly.

The Poder Judicial said that the allegation is that the bar owner traveled to the Dominican Republic to recruit a woman on the pretense of having her work at a restaurant.  The man bought the woman a plane ticket to Nicaragua and than paid someone $3,500 to smuggle her into Costa Rica, alleged the Poder Judicial.

Once here, the woman was put to work servicing clients for amounts ranging from 10,000 to 70,000 colons, said the Poder Judicial. That is from $20 to $140.

Costa Rica now has a tough trafficking law, and immigration officials are cracking down on the rural bars that offer prostitution as part of the menu. They have been several such cases in which the women who worked as prostitutes said they have been kept in the business by force or threats.

Under the new law, such victims are entitled to consideration for residency and other benefits.

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