Human Trafficking is a common issue being faced in Costa Rica. Mostly it is forced upon the victims to participate in the underground deals. With the tourist population double the native population of Costa Rica, there is a large population that are interested in using or could be potential victims of human trafficking. It is difficult to prove how big of an issue it is due to the difficulty to get adequate data. But hot spots for tourism tend to have higher probability and population that are participating in human trafficking. The graphic below shows how much money the trafficking industry makes and how many lives it affects each year. Even women (42% of recruiters) are helping to recruit new victims everyday. They are luring children into a terrible industry with very few ways of ever getting out safely.
Human Trafficking is the umbrella term for multiple different types of enslavement. There are also multiple reasons for why someone is a part of human trafficking. Some are voluntary because of promises of a better life or a way to make money, people who care and gifts given by the one’s in charge of recruiting. Some victims were just at the wrong place at the wrong time and get kidnapped while enjoying vacation. Human Trafficking has many different branches. Not all victims are used for sex. Some are forced into working jobs with high difficulty of labor for a profit given to the person in charge. Women and young girls are also brought into the country from nearby countries. They are “granted legal status through sham marriages or other means” (Dyer, 2014) in order to stay and “work” in Costa Rica. Most of the girls and women are very young when they start, especially in sex slavery. The average age ranges from 12-14. This is sometimes due to their youthfulness, or perceived safeness with less chance to have any previous sexually transmitted diseases. The urgency for the issue needs to increase.
There has been a large increase of organizations with focuses on preventing human trafficking, especially in low income areas. The increased number of organizations over the past years have been able to help make more noise to help spread awareness especially in the media. Yet, other organizations are still becoming more popular in terms of fundraising and awareness. This may be for many different reasons. One could be the idea of trafficking is sad to think of, so people rather act as if it isn’t occurring. Also some people may not be affected by trafficking, so feel less inclined to donate because they do not understand the complexity and range of it. Countries do not want to promote that it is an issue so they work hard to keep the issue under the rug, so to speak. But by putting the issue out there to the public, each country would be able to help prevent the issue by spreading awareness.
In the article Born Free, Sarah Mendelson explains the issues that many groups have with adding anything about human trafficking into their philanthropies. Even the United Nations Millennial Development Goals (also known as MGDs) had to add it in after 2015. They were called the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and working toward helping stop human trafficking around the world. The new additions were voted and accepted in 2016. Change is being made, but unfortunately much too slow from what is should be.
That’s a lot of negative facts along with a very disheartening issue, so how can we fix the problem? Adding security in areas of common kidnappings. Making sure everyone in every country has a birth certificate so the governments can keep track of everyone and find information about them if they are taken to help track them. This would be a difficult process getting every country to follow along, but for the better good it could really help. Too many people are taken without any records of them having every existed due to numerous different reasons. Also making sure that people feel comfortable reporting any potential issues so they can be investigated, will really help. Also, making sure there is resources for people who are visiting Costa Rica, or any country in fact, to have help finding locations or getting advice on different places to safely visit. Hotels should follow in the steps of the Hilton and Carlson by training their staff to recognize trafficked victims. More money should be spent for each company to educate their employees to know the signs of those who are being trafficked in efforts to stop it in its tracks.
Dyer, Z. 2014. Sex Tourism a Driver for Human Trafficking in Costa Rica, says Foundation. Received on November 3, 2016, from www.ticotimes.net/
Mendelson, S. 2014. Born Free: How to Prevent Human Trafficking. PDF. Retrieved on November 1, 2016.