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The Price of Prostitution in Costa Rica (Video)

Costa Rica News – The Costa Rican Times will be starting a weekly column that will be entitled “A Day in the Life of a Costa Rican Prostitute”. The stories, pain and lives of these girls will be told to show the real side of this business in Costa Rica. This article seemed like a good way to kick off the series. 

costa rica prostitution 1I am lucky. I have grown up in a white, middle class neighborhood in the United States. You could pick up my house and drop it in the middle of just about any state in the U.S. and find a sister place just like the one I grew up in. I know this isn’t true in all parts of the United States or Canada, but we have more choices and options than many people in other parts of the world. My focus is on those who live in Central and South America.

In these locations there is more poverty, less education, less choice, and less protection for women and children. When a single woman has a child that she needs to care for, there is little choice of how to make money, hence, the idea forms in some women’s heads of making money in a legal ‘profession’ that will allow you to make a lot more money than just working at a hotel or a restaurant, prostitution. Sounds good on paper, but when it comes right down to it, what are the psychological and physical ramifications for these women engaging in prostitution? People say this is a ‘victimless’ crime. However, I beg to differ.

Costa Rica is a country of destination, transit, and origin for trafficking in women and children. Costa Rica is often a destination country for prostitutes because that practice is not seen as a crime. As a result, Costa Rica is a major sex tourism destination for men from North America, Europe, Asia and South America. Girls from Costa Rica are reportedly trafficked through Central America to work in the sex trades of the United States, Canada, and Europe. Trafficking victims often pass through Costa Rica on their way from Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and other Central American countries. Additionally, Costa Rican minors are trafficked internally toward tourist points and ports for sexual exploitation.

To believe prostitution has no victims, one must ignore these statistics published in Melissa Farley’s (she is a PhD. And has been studying prostitution for 15 years) Fact Sheet:*

  • 62 percent reported having been raped in prostitution.
  • 73 percent reported having experienced physical assault in prostitution.
  • 72 percent were currently or formerly homeless.
  • 92 percent stated that they wanted to escape prostitution immediately.
  • 83 percent of prostitutes are victims of assault with a weapon.
  • 75 percent of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide.
  • 67 percent meet diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

*These stats come from interviews of prostitutes and John’s in several different countries, not just Costa Rica alone.

What these statistics don’t offer are the STD’s (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) that also run rampant in a profession where you could be with 10 John’s in one night. While condoms offer protection, they are not 100% guaranteed against anything.

The most famous place to buy sex in Costa Rica currently is the Del Ray Hotel. It is a casino type of environment with hundreds of women to choose from. Prices are set with the women splitting their money with the hotel. The age of consent in Costa Rica is 18, but many times that isn’t the true age of the prostitute. Also, the women are supposed to be registered with the government, and are also supposed to get regular health checkups. Prostitutes are supposed to carry a health card with them, but with the high number of illegal (most likely trafficked) prostitutes, it may be a huge gamble to pay for sex. The government of Costa Rica has worked collaboratively with other countries, including the U.S. to offer more protection of women by instilling a couple laws:

Law Against Organized Crime in 2009 – Included in the provision are crimes such as international trafficking of drugs, arms and people, sexual exploitation, money laundering and corruption.

Law for Protection of Victims and Witnesses in 2010

While there are some newish laws on the books, they may not deter people from looking the other way, and do nothing to keep women out of a legal business when they have no other choice but to sell their bodies for sex.

I urge people to watch this YouTube video to make up your own mind before paying for sex.

May not appropriate for people under the age of 18

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