The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is a report, which measures different government efforts to protect victims, prosecute traffickers and prevent this crime to occur. According to the latest report released in June by the US State Department, Costa Rica was upgraded to Tier 2 in their statistics for showing significant efforts to comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards.

Some of the recognisable efforts were:

  1. Increased funds from its national government to government institutions working against these crimes (trafficking, smuggling).
  2. Provided funds and technical support to build a second emergency safe house.
  3. Addressed the problem of complicity in accusing an ex-mayor and other suspected accomplices on charges of establishing a trafficking network.
  4. Identified more victims of trafficking than previously.
  5. Improved activities   to raise public awareness about forced labor.

Despite these efforts, Costa Rica still does not meet all of the TVPA’s minimum standards and still needs to improve its prosecution efforts and fund more services for victims, as they are insufficient.

Recommendations:

  1. Amend national legislation to correspond with international law

At the moment, in order for an individual to be prosecuted for human trafficking it requires cross border movement and establishing force, fraud, or coercion as part of the crime. However, in 2016, an amendment to the law was passed and is in the process of being approved.

  1. Intensify efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses.
  2. Increase disbursement of funds for victim services and provide appropriate shelter and services for the victims including men.
  3. Improve victim identification
  4. Increase anti-trafficking training for police, prosecutors and judges.
  5. Improve data collection on victim protection programs and law

Costa Rica Trafficking Profile

Costa Rica is a source, transit and destination country for women; children and men subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Vulnerable groups identify of being at risk are:

  • Locals are at risk of being trafficked within the country especially the ones living in the north and central Pacific coastal zones.
  • Adults have been identified using children (some of them may have be victims of trafficking) to transport or sell drugs.
  • Migrants on the way to the US, mainly from Haiti and Cuba.
  • Raising number of transgender Costa Ricans working in the sex industry.
  • Women and girls from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and other Latin America countries (sex trafficking and domestic servitude).
  • Indigenous Panamanians (forced labor in agriculture in Costa Rica).
  • Children (child sex tourism).

Sources:

Trafficking in Persons Report 2017 – Costa Rica – Tier 2 Watch List

Costa Rica Improves In 2017 On Trafficking in Persons Report