Costa Rica identifies sex predators with online marketing campaign

October 29, 2015
3 Comments

Costa Rica’s Tourism Ministry and PANIAMOR Foundation on Wednesday disclosed the first results of an online strategy to fight Costa Rica’s image as a child sex tourism destination.

The campaign “Unforgettable Costa Rica” consists of a website that in the past four months has been promoted in dating websites and sex forums using fake accounts. Posts and messages invite users to visit the website to find “the youngest girls,” aiming to attract sex predators.

Clicking on one of these links takes the person to a website that looks like a conventional hotel or travel site displaying usual links to accommodations, dining & nightlife, spa & wellness, and others including one of “Meet the girls.”

The links display images of a prison with messages warning that people engaging in sexual activities with minors will be prosecuted, and that a sex trip to Costa Rica could end up in prison sentences if they pay for sex with underage persons.

PANIAMOR Executive Director Milena Grillo said efforts to promote the website were conducted site-by-site, creating fake user accounts to post messages with invitations to visit the site. The goal is to inform as many people as possible that engaging in sexual relations with people under 18 is a crime in Costa Rica, she said.

Costa Rica’s Vice President Ana Helena Chacón said child sexual exploitation is an unacceptable practice that now is being comprehensively addressed.

“It is important for people to know that it is a crime that is punished with prison sentences here,” Chacón said.

One of the campaign’s most important features is that the website records visitors’ information, and officials on Wednesday reported it has received visits from more than 100 countries.

“This is actually a very troubling statistic as it shows that interests in sex with underage people spreads worldwide,” the vice president said.

Geographic and other information of people accessing the website will be used to profile sex predators searching for information about underage sex in Costa Rica. Data also will be used to design strategies to fight sex tourism and will be sent to government agencies at all of the country’s detected.

“If we want to keep Costa Rica as a place that is worth visiting, we need to eradicate those who come here for the wrong reasons,” Chacón said.

The guerilla marketing campaign was developed by local ad agency Garnier/BBDO and also has the support of the Costa Rica Tourism Board and National Tourism Chamber.

Some 450 local tourism businesses committed to support the fight against child sexual exploitation and starting Thursday they are promoting the campaign on their websites and among their clients.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Slothy Sunday: Just hanging out
Sloth Sundays
14 views
Sloth Sundays
14 views

Slothy Sunday: Just hanging out

Alejandro Zúñiga - May 26, 2019

Last week, Denise Gillen, a sloth nanny from the Toucan Rescue Ranch, shared the story of Bon Jovi, a sloth…

Twice as nice: Güity wins second gold at Grand Prix
Costa Rica
17 views
Costa Rica
17 views

Twice as nice: Güity wins second gold at Grand Prix

Alejandro Zúñiga - May 25, 2019

A day after he placed himself atop the world rankings with his time in the 200-meter T64 at the 2019…

Costa Rica obtains $500 million from CAF for fiscal support
Costa Rica
47 views
Costa Rica
47 views

Costa Rica obtains $500 million from CAF for fiscal support

AFP and The Tico Times - May 25, 2019

The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) on Friday granted a $500 million credit to Costa Rica to support the…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!