Published Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Human trafficking is modern
slavery, says specialist
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The use of chains or whips may not be used today, but slavery still exists, although with different methods. The hard reality in modern slave-holding is that it happens through human trafficking, specifically as forced jobs.
According to Eugenia Salazar, Prosecutor's Office Against Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants, although there are certain conditions of vulnerability that place the person in higher danger, the truth is being a victim of trafficking can happen to anyone.
A recent case happened last week when a judge of the San José Criminal Court sentenced two men and two women guilty for committing the crimes of trafficking persons for forced work and rape.
According to the sentence, a woman surnamed Quirós will go to prison for four years for the crime of human trafficking. The other three offenders (another woman surnamed Madrigal, a man surnamed Madrigal and another man surnamed López) were each sentenced to 36 years in prison for the crimes of human trafficking and rape.
The Prosecutor's Office accused these people of acts against two victims, a man and a woman. However, the judge gave his verdict for the events that happened to the man. For this reason, the Prosecutor will wait for the final sentence to analyze an appealing action.
According to the case, the events happened in August 2019, when the gang was capturing people who were in a vulnerable condition, such as homeless people, drug-addicts, those without a family and no job.
That gang cheated the victims into believing that they would give them a job. The victim agreed to move to the house of the gang, in San José. Once there, the gang kept the victims, beat them and forced them to insert cell phones and drugs through their genitals, which constituted the crime of rape.
Later, the gang took the victims to a jail where they were forced to enter with those objects hidden inside their body, to be handed over to other prisoners.
Those who commit human trafficking face penalties ranging from six to 10 years in prison. However, if the crime includes violence the penalties can range from eight to 18 years in prison, Salazar said.
Specialists advise people to prevent being a victim of human trafficking by researching and confirming workplaces and job offers. In some cases, the job offers seem perfect, with a high salary in exchange for simple tasks or few hours. This is where the crime could be hidden.
Authorities call on people to report any suspicion of a victim of human trafficking to the following helplines:
• The Judicial Investigation Organization confidential line 800-8000-645.
• The Prosecutor's lines 2295-3606 or 2295-3180.
• The Professional Migration Police lines 2106-4005 or 2106-4001.
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