National Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking Comes into Force

A new phase in the fight against human trafficking is underway in
Costa Rica with the official launch of the National Coalition to
Combat Human Trafficking.

High level government officials gathered to provide their
support for the Coalition and all actors involved and to hail the
start of a more focused and forceful response in the fight against
human trafficking.

Human trafficking has come to the fore in the past two weeks
after authorities found a boat that had drifted off course loaded
with 147 migrants from Peru and China.  The authorities
suspect that the Chinese migrants were being taken to the United
States for forced labour exploitation.

Costa Rica is a country of origin, with migrants travelling
mainly to Mexico and Japan; a transit country for those en route to
the United States and Canada; and a country of destination for
victims of trafficking from Bulgaria, Colombia, Romania, and
Thailand, amongst others.

In Central America, children and adolescents are the easiest
preys for the international the trafficking networks operating in
the region, mostly for sexual exploitation purposes.

Following an IOM report detailing the dimension of human
trafficking, its trends and prevalence in the country, the Costa
Rican Government has asked IOM to participate in the drafting of a
National Plan of Action to combat human trafficking.

Government officials also signed a declaration of cooperation to
promote the safe and coordinated return of victims of
trafficking.  IOM has taken the lead role in all countries in
Central America in the drafting of the "Protocol for the Return of
Children and Adolescents Victims of Trafficking", which defines the
guidelines for their safe return.

For more information please contact:

Agueda Marín

IOM San José

Tel: + 506-221 5348 ext. 119

E-mail "">