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The British Embassy launched a book and hosted a discussion on human trafficking
On 12 June 2014, the British Embassy hosted the launch of the book, “Volver a Creer” (To Believe Again), produced by Fundación Rahab, with funding from the British Embassy San Jose.
Fundación Rahab is a non-profit NGO that works with victims of people trafficking, providing them and their families with support, counselling and training, to facilitate their successful reintegration into society.
“Volver a Creer” is a valuable resource for groups working in the area of people trade and trafficking, as it provides a better understanding of the socio-economic context and behaviours that have an effect on the incidence of people trafficking. The book also focuses on the issue of attention and restoration of victims of sex trafficking.
Later that day, the British Embassy held a related event – a Round Table discussion on people trade and trafficking. Representatives from the government, civil society and international organisations attended to share their perspectives on this complex issue. The aim was to identify concrete short to medium term solutions.
The Round Table coincided with the London Global Summit on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict which was held from 10-13 June, 2014. The Summit’s wider focus on Women, Peace and Security provided the British Embassy with a valuable opportunity to engage with the various groups working in the area of people trafficking here in Costa Rica, including the Human Rights Defender, the Adviser to the President of the Supreme Court, the Mixed Institute for Social Aid (IMAS) and a wide cross-section of members of the National Coalition against Illegal Immigration and People Trafficking and Trade (CONATT). Amelia Rueda very kindly moderated the session and Roberto Artavia introduced the discussion.
Costa Rica is a country of origin, transit and final destination for people trafficking. But participants in the discussion noted that this now illegal phenomenon has remained largely invisible to the wider Costa Rican society.
Early prevention efforts are fundamental in order to end people trafficking and trade. This would require a three-pronged approach:
• enhanced training for judges and law enforcement agents to identify and understand the problem and to successfully prosecute;
• education campaigns to create awareness of the issue at all levels of society; and
• the creation of a culture of confidence in reporting this crime and in ensuring that impunity was tackled.
Awareness is essential to promote solidarity and consideration. But it can also help ensure that these crimes are not tolerated and are more widely denounced, thereby breaking previous cultural acceptance.
The meeting concluded with participants advocating taking a preventative approach, tackling the root causes of vulnerability of trafficking victims. These drivers include extreme poverty, a lack of education and unemployment.
The group also recognised the need to coordinate efforts among the numerous government agencies, international organisations and non-governmental agencies that have been working tirelessly to put an end to people trade and trafficking in Costa Rica and to provide the necessary attention to victims and their families.
British Ambassador in San Jose, Sharon Campbell, hopes that more people will join the fight against human trafficking. “We must all join forces to put an end to this horrendous crime. The British Embassy is pleased to be working alongside Costa Rica, taking a stand against people trafficking and trade. We hope all of Costa Rica will join us in speaking out against this crime, by joining our Facebook campaign - #noalatrata.