[Stop-traffic] FW: [rapid-response] COSTA RICA: MOVES TO CURB CHILD PROSTITUTION

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] FW: [rapid-response] COSTA RICA: MOVES TO CURB CHILD PROSTITUTION
From: Ann Jordan (Annj@HRLawgroup.org)
Date: Thu Nov 16 2000 - 18:07:03 EST

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-rapid-response@casa-alianza.org
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2000 3:23 PM

November 14th, 2000

A series of recent police actions in Costa Rica have led to the
arrest of a several adults accused of pimping children and the
production and distribution of child pornography in the "Switzerland
of Central America".

On October 26th, 2000 a Costa Rican woman, surname Martinez,
was arrested in Purral de Goicoechea - close to the capital San
Jose - and charged with pimping girls between the ages of 15 and
19 for US$ 160 for two hours. Martinez would only make deals over
her cellphone and only with people who had been recommended by
other clients, most of whom were foreign nationals.

On November 8th, 2000, judicial authorities extended for another
two months the period of preventive detention of the German
national George Buberth (49) who was arrested on May 30th of this
year accused of pimping both adults and minors. Buberth ran an
Internet "escort service" for foreign visitors to Costa Rica, which
included offering minors for sex. Buberth advertised in the Costa
Rican government's official guide for tourists and had apparently
been operating in Costa Rica for more than 8 years.

On November 8th, 2000, US citizen Richard Ridley Casper (43)
from California, was arrested in San Jose accused of operating an
international child porn network. Casper, who has been in Costa
Rica for more than 8 years, offered childporn through two Internet
pages and was found to be in posession of more than 600
pornographic photos of young girls. According to police reports, the
American worked together with Italian and Costa Rican citizens.

Casper offered minors for "sexual favors" and would send 12 to 14
year old girls to expensive hotels in Costa Rica to have sex with
foreign visitors for between US$ 300 and US$ 600. Many of the
girls are middle school students. Casper is also charged with the
production of child pornography in Costa Rica.

During the current year, the Judicial Investigative Organism (OIJ)
has investigated 44 cases of pimping (a third of which include child
victims) and 38 cases of corruption of minors. As a result, 13
people have been arrested and sent to the Public Prosecutor's
office for prosecution. Casa Alianza has presented more than 260
criminal complaints to the Special Prosecutor for Sex Crimes'
office in San Jose. Many cases have not been investigated due to
the lack of institutional support for the overwhelmed Special
Prosecutor's office by the Judicial power. The head of security for
Costa Rica's Supreme Court Magistrates was arrested a few
months ago accused of sexually abusing of two children.

Costa Rica has been severely criticised internationally by the
United Nations and human rights groups for the blatant sexual
abuse of it's children. The Inter American Commission on Human
Rights has held several specific hearings on the issue and the
President of the Commission, who is also the Commission's
Special Rapporteur for Children, Dr. Helio Bicudo, will make a
formal visit to Costa Rica at the end of November to investigate the
plight of the children.

Upcoming reports on the situation of sexual exploitation of children
will soon be aired on ABC News' 20/20 program and in
NEWSWEEK magazine.

Adult prostitution is legal in Costa Rica, though child prostitution is
not. Posession of child pornography is legal in Costa Rica, though
Casa Alianza is leading an effort to get the country's Congress to
change the law.

For more infromation, please visit our homepage at
Casa Alianza/Covenant House Latin America
SJO 1039
PO Box 025216, Miami FL 33102-5216 USA

Tel. in Costa Rica: +506-253-5439 or 253-6338
Fax in Costa Rica: +506-224-5689

Home page address: http://www.casa-alianza.org

"In their little worlds in which children have their existence,
there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt,
as injustice...."

Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"
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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens
can change the world, indeed it's the only thing that ever has".
Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
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