Child Sex Tourism in Costa Rica: A Product of Poverty?


Within Costa Rica, the issue of sex tourism is at an all time high. With the legalization of prostitution, the emergence of minors in the industry has become rampant; while it is recognized as an issue within Costa Rica-both by outside countries and by locals, there is little that the Costa Rican government is doing to combat the issue on a social level. sex tourism costa rica

Through the analysis of yearly investigations of child and human trafficking conditions, one finds that there is little being done to actively diminish the problem, and that outside countries, such as the United States, have taken notice of the issue and have attempted to thwart it by exhibiting sanctions on and creating plans for the Costa Rican government. However, the legal sanctions enacted in efforts to resolve the issue don’t have much force behind them and stray away from local trafficking practices.

Within our dossier, we examined political, economic, and social prongs when laying foundation for the historical scope behind human trafficking within Costa Rica. Through an analysis of the general conditions surrounding the issue of child trafficking and sex tourism, one factor underlay at the base of our conclusions and formative opinions: poverty.

Poverty within Costa Rica is a primary driving force behind the continuation of human trafficking. Children are getting involved into sex tourism and prostitution, not by choice necessarily, but by an economic responsibility imposed by familial arrangements as well as forced compliance in the sex trafficking industry. Without the means to directly turn this trend around, it faces the risk of becoming a cultural norm in Costa Rica.

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