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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

OIJ Raids Boat in Golfito, Rescues Victims of Labor Exploitation

Thirteen people of four nationalities were rescued this Sunday after being held since November 2023 on a boat anchored in Golfito, Puntarenas. The operation was carried out by agents from the Specialized Section on Gender Violence, Trafficking in Persons, and Smuggling of Migrants of the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ).

At the end of May, they received confidential information about the alleged conditions of the people, who were not being paid and were living in poor conditions with inadequate food and overcrowding.

“At the end of May 2024, confidential information was received indicating that this boat was anchored with several individuals on board, who were not being paid, had poor food conditions, and were living in overcrowded conditions,” explained the OIJ.

As detailed by the OIJ, last Sunday at 9:00 a.m., the raid and rescue of 13 people of different nationalities, including Mexicans, Ecuadorians, Venezuelans, Costa Ricans, and Portuguese, was carried out. As a result, the authorities arrested a man of Portuguese nationality, who is suspected of the crime of Trafficking in Persons for the Purpose of Labor Exploitation.

The OIJ detailed that during the raid, a cell phone was seized, along with other evidence for the investigation. The photographic evidence was vital in showing the conditions in which these people lived, according to the officials.  

Regarding the suspect, the agents presented him before the judicial authorities, who will determine his legal situation. In Costa Rica, human trafficking is punishable by law with sentences raning from six to ten years in prision, or sixteen years in those cases where victims suffer serious health damage, if the offense was committed by a criminal organization, or there are other aggravating circumstances.

The OIJ indicated that this operation highlights the ongoing fight against human trafficking and its commitment to the protection of human rights. Authorities will continue investigating to determine the extent of the labor exploitation network and ensure that those responsible face justice.

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