Flagged by INTERPOL, Costa Rica is fast rising as the hemispheric capital of sex tourism.

Costa Rica, where prostitution after age 18 is not considered a crime, is also credited with having the region’s largest child prostitution problem. Most children who succumb to prostitution do so before they turn 12. (1)

Forty one percent of Costa Rican children are born into single-parent homes—usually headed by the mother. Single parent homes means that there is usually a succession of ‘stepfathers’ for whom a child is just part of the marital-sexual package. Families sometimes pimp their own children. (2)

Jacobo Schifter, a professor emeritus at Costa Rica’s National University of Heredia and author of Mongers in Heaven, an investigation of Costa Rica’s sex tourism industry, reports that while there are no official statistics, he estimates there are between 10,000 and 20,000 sex workers in the country, and 25,000 to 50,000 sex tourists who visit each year, 80 percent of whom are U.S. citizens. (3)

1.Gutman, W. E. “Child prostitution: a growing scourge.” The Panama 17, Apr. 2004. The Panama News.
Child prostitution: a growing scourge

2. Patricia Leidl. “Sexual Trafficking of Children in Costa Rica.” 2006. International Labour Organization/The Georgia Straight, Vancouver
Sex Tourism Report

3.Rogers, Tim. “Costa Rica’s Sex-Tourism Is Growing”. Tico 2009. Special to The Miami Herald
Costa Rica’s Sex-Tourism Is Growing.