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Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

Authorities rescue 17 “sex slaves” in San Carlos

June 23rd, 2014 ( Judicial police raided a bar in San Carlos yesterday, rescuing 17 women who authorities described as “sex slaves” and arrested the owners of the bar.


The seventeen women, who were forced to work as prostitutes in the bar called “Divas Sport Bar” and also known as “El Sancar,” ranged in age from 18 to 30 and were of various nationalities, including Nicaraguans, Dominicans, and Costa Ricans.


Authorities said at least 40 clients were present at the bar at the time of the raid, and that officers also raided the home of one of the owners and were able to collect financial evidence. Authorities seized ¢1.5 million that was found in the bar.


Authorities said that when not servicing clients, the women were kept locked in their rooms and under the watch of a guard.


Officials believe the bar operated with the help of a network of recruiters.  Investigators believe the women of Dominican origin were first flown to Nicaragua and then transported across the northern border into Costa Rica.


costa rica news

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  • disgusted

    This is not news. All over here in CR there are places like this.

  • Ken Morris

    I’d be interested in a follow up, when you have more details.

    On one hand, and perhaps with “digusted,” there are lots of places similar to this in CR, which aren’t instances of sex slavery. In them the women sometimes choose to spend the night in the rooms, usually because they live some distance away from work and only work a few days a week, and they probably lock their doors while appreciating the security guard that the owner pays to protect them. While anything is possible, I find it hard to believe that many Ticas are sex slaves. Then too, when so many women are willing to work in bar/brothels for very little money, I find it hard to believe that many owners would resort to slavery when it’s cheaper not to.

    On the other hand, the issue of transporting Dominicanas does raise suspicions. Sometimes when foreigners have neither the money nor the papers to come to CR, arrangements are made (and passports withheld) by someone who wants to profit from the foreigners’ labor. These arrangements probably range from the fairly innocuous high-interest loan to be paid via labor to false promises eventuating in slavery, with something like indentured servitude in between. It’s probably easy for pimps to abuse their power in these situations, and this may be what was going on here–though I still wonder why anyone would undertake this kind of expensive risk when so many women are willing to work in these places without explicit coercion.

    • Timothy Williams

      Just FYI, the information we have is that the locks were on the OUTSIDE of the doors to their rooms and that they were locked IN when not working, not locking OUT others (perhaps this should have been made more clear in the story). If that proves to be true, then that is indeed sexual slavery, or at least kidnapping. You can’t deny anyone the right to free movement, or to leave, even if perhaps they knew they were coming to the country for sex work, which is yet to be determined. Also, pimping is against the law in Costa Rica, let us not forget.

      • Ken Morris

        Yep, which side of the door the locks were on is the kind of fact that makes or breaks a case like this one, but even if true, I’m still wondering how this case will play out. It will probably come down to a few Dominicanas, but I wonder.

        I used the word “pimp” loosely.

        IMO, all the bar/pension owners and managers in CR are pimps, even though the women are technically freelancers rather than employees. They are because they in effect hire and fire, accepting some while dismissing others, schedule hours, set fees, and act as go-betweens for the exchange of money.

        In my further opinion, the owners and managers of some bars popular with the sex tourists are also pimps. They too restrict entry of some women, often have an approved list of the women permitted in, and periodically indirectly compensate the women they want by offering them free meals and this or that. The control the exercise over the women is less than in the bar/pensions, but it is still control and thus pimping.

        However, In CR pimping usually has to be pretty extreme to justify the legal charge, and I’m not sure where that line is crossed. Locking the women in would qualify though.

      • disgusted

        I have know Punteranas , Esparza, Downtown in the red zone where the women live and stay inside the hotels and share rooms. Some say the owner has their ID. Wasn’t Atlantis Club also busted for having this kind of set up and under age?? Then there is a lot of places where the owner get a “‘room fee” , pretty much pimping . About any night club as well. However, the OIJ look the other way. NOW locking the door on the outside this is really bad. I feel sorry for the poor girls who get stuck in this trap..

        • El Torito

          Uh…..How did you happen to gain such intimate knowledge of this?

          • disgusted

            I lived in Esparza and there is a well known place near across the street from Texaco.. Everyone in town knows this . Then over in Punteranas right downtown called the Good Times and another place the girls stay there as they have no proper ID. Everyone who lives there knows this as well. Downtown San Jose called the Bacata also has rooms where the girls stay.Red Zone near Calle 6, 8 and 4th all have same thing. El Torito wise up!! I could name a few other places they are no secret from the police in those 3 places I mentioned. . Your making a sideways comment I frequent them which I do not… Jeez!

          • El Torito

            Tranquilo, Disgusted. I was just pulling your leg. (Pun intended any Brits out there.) We all know about the knocking shops that dot the countryside here in the southern zone.

  • duke ster

    Well, HMMMMM, so we neglected to make the monthly payoff did we? You see what happens when someone refuses to make a payoff on time?

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