Immigration police suspect that three Dominicans are running an “international prostitution school” in the central Pacific beach town of Jacó.
Immigration Police Director Francisco Castaing told The Tico Times this week that the school, in which women are trained nightly in the tricks of the trade, was brought to light by a Dominican sex worker who had been to the school and tipped off authorities.
Castaing, who investigated the case, suspects the organization is led by three Dominicans, two men and a woman, who recruit women from the Dominican Republic and charge them up to $3,500 to bring them here to work as prostitutes. Of 54 sex workers investigated in the case, 52 were Dominicans.
“Many of them weren’t prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, they were secretaries or mothers. But they offer them a chance to come here to paradise and they teach them how to recruit men at a course from 6-7 each night,” Castaing said.
The organization’s leaders also helped women find Ticos for marriages of convenience with the goal of obtaining legal residency, according to Castaing. Ultimately, women were promised that if they came to Costa Rica they could gain easier migratory access to the United States and Europe, since there are fewer requirements to travel to the two regions as a Costa Rican than as a Dominican, Castaing said.
There is an Immigration reform proposal in the Legislative Assembly now that would crack down on marriages of convenience with tougher punishments (TT, June 15).
Prostitution is legal in Costa Rica for those over 18, though Castaing suspects there could be pimping or human trafficking involved with the school, which are illegal activities. Castaing said only seven of the 54 women investigated are being deported because they had no documentation.
He said the investigation is ongoing, and that Immigration authorities haven’t been able to pinpoint identities of the leaders of the school nor the school’s exact location.