Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
It’s a little known fact that Costa Rica has thousands of victims of human trafficking. A large majority of them have been sold into prostitution by their own families. This is called commercial sexual exploitation. Many more thousands are at risk of sexual exploitation.
Just in San José alone, we have an estimated 8,000 homeless children. Some I’ve met are only 8 years old. They do a pretty good job of hiding and spend time at night digging through dumpsters looking for food. Many of them prostitute themselves out to earn money to pay $8 or $10 for a night at a hotel. Most I’ve met are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Our foundation, Casa Milagro, has spent the last year researching the situation and meeting with government agencies and other nonprofits. One of the amazing discoveries we made was that there are no organizations helping these kids.
If you are homeless and 18 or over, there are places to go shower, sleep, eat and find clothes. For those under 18, there is nothing!
The Patronato Nacional de la Infancia is our part of the government responsible for minors. They own and run most of our orphanages here, and they license private orphanages. Sadly, they have a very bad reputation. All of the children I’ve spoken with who have spent time in these orphanages say they are very dangerous and that they feel safer living on the street.
Casa Milagro is in the process of raising funds for a safe house and for a drop-in center. We feel it’s important that someone does something to help these children. While we wait for the funds, we are going out on the streets delivering food and clothes to the children we meet. Those interested in joining us in this effort, in donating clothes or food, or making a charitable donation can contact us through our website (www.casamilagro.org) or on our GoFundMe page.
Founder and executive director