• Tourism Chamber of Tamarindo and Rahab Foundation organize activity with private sector, Fuerza Police, Tourist Police and civilians Last October 13, 2015, the Rahab Foundation, in alliance with the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism of Tamarindo (CCTT), developed a training program to explain strategies for detecting human trafficking cases, an evil reality currently punishable by Law 9095, passed in 2012.
The meeting brought together representatives of private enterprises, the Fuerza Police, the Tourist Police, local schools, Municipalities and judicial authorities, among other sectors. According to Hernán Imhoff, President of the CCTT, the event was organized in order to foster friendly social tourism practices for nationals and foreigners, particularly the families that visit Playa Tamarindo, Playa Langosta and their surroundings on a daily basis.
“The sector represented by the Chamber is dedicated to fighting this evil reality because we are conscious that we have a corporate social responsibility with clients and workers. This is the first step in that direction.
This is an experience we are going to repeat in other communities in the area because tourism represents the most important source of jobs in such places,” Imhoff emphasized. According to the last Report of Human Trafficking, on May 2015, issued by the United States State Department (USA): “Costa Rica is a country of origin, transit, as well as a destination country for men, women and children subjected to conditions of human trafficking, who are forced into commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Costa Rican women and children are subjected to trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation within the country, with those living in the north and the coastal area of Central Pacific particularly vulnerable.” (http://spanish.costarica.usembassy.gov/ tip2015_costarica.html).
“The Costa Rican government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of the trafficking. However, it is making important efforts to do so. Government officers have identified 23 victims, investigated 14 suspected cases and trained some public servants and members of the tourism industry about trafficking. In spite of these measures, the government has not shown an increase in their efforts against trafficking compared to the previous period,” said the US State Department.
Useful advice Gina Gordon, Rahab Foundation´s Area Training Coordinator, said that the workshop in Tamarindo turned out to be useful in assisting to learn more about how to cope with a good judgement when identifying a human trafficking situation or commercial sexual exploitation.
“In the activity, we deal with basic aspects of Law 9095, and the factors that facilitate how a person may be prey to networks who commit these types of crimes. For example, 911 is the line available to report complaints, which may be anonymous. Therefore, it is very important that people know how to identify these situations and then judicial authorities may proceed to investigate,” Gordon emphasized.
The Training Area Coordinator detailed that in 2013, 25 cases, duly accredited, were presented before the Immediate Response Team assigned by the National Coalition against Illicit Traffic of Migrants and Human Trafficking (Coalición Nacional contra el Tráfico Ilícito de Migrantes y la Trata de Personas CONATT). However, by 2014, the figure came down to only five.
“It is possible that there were fewer efforts in making this public; therefore, people have lowered their guard in regards to making complaints. I find this a reliable explanation,” said Gordon.
The Coalition is made up of organizations such as the National Childen’s Trust (Patronato Nacional de la Infancia), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Education and state universities, among other institutions.