Costa Rica News – There were 28 reported victims of human trafficking reported up in Cota Rica up to October 2013 for this year. Thirteen fell victim to organ extraction and trafficking rings, according to a U.N. report from the Office on Drugs and Crime and the Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Police.
The high number of cases found related to organ trafficking comes after an investigation that started in the Calderon Guardia Hospital and some private clinics in the capital. Victims were paid $20,000 for kidneys, which is illegal in Costa Rica. This greatly affected vulnerable immigrants, especially from Nicaragua.
Costa Rica’s job opportunities attract people from as far away as Bolivia. It’s also a transit hub for Asian and African migrants heading to the U.S. Some of these migrants transit cocaine, to fund their travel to a better life.
The biggest drug trafficking groups in Costa Rica are from Colombia and Mexico, with cartels such as the Sinaloa and the Knights Templar present. They are taking advantage of Costa Rica’s strategic location and growing middle class. Marijuana use has increased 260 percent, since 2006.
Six of the ten cantons with the highest rates of homicide also have the highest rates of crack cocaine seizures. Although drug use is increasing in the country, so are drug seizures. They confiscate about 17 tons of cocaine per year.
Despite the increased violence, the homicide rate has fallen each of the last three years. There were 394 homicides in 2012; that’s a rate of 8.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. The U.N. report recommended that local law enforcement focus on the crime structures, to better interrupt the flow of drugs through the country and region. It also suggested increasing Coast Guard resources and training police to address human trafficking.