Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
Thanks for your article Friday about the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report. The Costa Rican government’s lack of attention and resources to our growing trafficking problems is overwhelmingly disturbing.
As one of the folks working on the streets, providing direct care to some of our many sexually exploited children, I can tell you that it’s embarrassing only three victims were identified last year. The number of real victims is certainly at least in the hundreds, if not in the thousands. Worse yet is that we have no aftercare facility for female or male child victims of sex trafficking.
Equally disturbing is the fact that so much focus is placed on sex tourism predators and not the families of these kids who are most often those responsible for their situations.
I’d like to point out that in the safe house I used to work at here in Costa Rica, we had a total of 30 girls stay with us during the time it was open. Twenty nine of these girls had been sold into prostitution by their own families with just one girl being a victim of sex tourism. That should speak volumes.
I would urge the government to please take this problem seriously and to begin putting real resources into the prevention of the problem, and the care of the victims.
founder & executive director