13 Sex Trafficking Survivors Rescued in Costa Rica

13 Sex Trafficking Survivors Rescued in Costa Rica
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Thirteen sex trafficking survivors were rescued from the back of a seedy bar in Costa Rica on Saturday, reports the country’s largest newspaper, La Nación.

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The women, smuggled from Nicaragua, lived in rearmost rooms of the La Fortuna de San Carlos establishment, which public prosecutor Natalia Álvarez described as dingy, dirty and miserable.

The rooms were small with handmade beds and ripped mattresses. There were no bathrooms, forcing the women to bathe in an open shared stall that poured out greenish water and was filled with toads.

According to Álavarez, the women, who said they felt imprisoned, had to pay ringleaders whenever they wished to leave, including for sex work, and had to return at a scheduled time.

Authorities believe the women were forced to engage in sexual activity both outside and inside the rooms, as trashcans were filled with condoms as well as needles and medications for treating sexually transmitted infections.

Officials learned about the trafficking victims on August 15, when a client helped three women escape. When taken to the police, they reported the abuses they encountered under ringleaders; however, they allege that they, unlike the other 13 women, were working voluntarily. As such, they did not request court protections. Those rescued this weekend are under a victim protection program and are receiving therapy.

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The suspects, a brother and sister duo, have been given six months jail time while the case is investigated.

(h/t The Costa Rica Star)