An undisclosed evil has crept its way into the flows of tourists that make their way to Costa Rica each year, contaminating the country’s characteristic pure way of living and destroying the innocence of hundreds of little girls along the way. Sex tourism is turning into an epidemic problem, so much so, that Interpol named Costa Rica sex tourism as the fastest-growing in all of Latin America.
In the face of such a widespread evil, one organization is standing strong in the battle against Costa Rica sex tourism. For nearly three years, Seeds Of Hope has diligently worked on behalf of young girls all around Costa Rica, tirelessly being a voice for some of the most marginalized people in the country.
Fighting The Battle Of Costa Rica Sex Tourism
The Problem Of Costa Rica Sex Tourism
What makes Costa Rica sex tourism such a major problem is that we aren’t just talking about fully-consenting adults here. There have been cases of girls being exploited at the age of just six years old, with children between 12 and 17 years being the average age of child sex workers. http://www.seedsofhopehome.com/trafficking–sexual-exploitation.html As Seeds Of Hope explains, up to 10% of tourists come to Costa Rica specifically to engage in sex tourism, with 80% of sex tourists coming from the US. In 2011 the U.S. State Department added Costa Rica to their tier-2 watch list due to the failure of the Costa Rican government to condemn or prosecute human traffickers, Seeds of Hope shares, stressing the importance of educating the public.
Who Is Seeds Of Hope
Seeds Of Hope is a nonprofit working to combat the growing issue of Costa Rica sex tourism. Seeds of Hope was founded in 2013 by Penny Williams, an individual who came to Costa Rica with a heart to serve and was met by an unexpected opportunity to bring change to the lives of young women. She decided the best way to help women and girls caught up in the sex industry, or at risk of being forced to join, was through the implementation of Club Houses–safe places where girls could receive education and hope for the future. Seeds of Hope has set up several club houses in strategic areas of Costa Rica where they form trust in the community as they reach out to at-risk girls from all walks of life, educating and rehabilitating them. It is their goal that these clubhouses will provide a safe environment where these girls can simply become children again; a place that allows them the opportunity to obtain new identities and thus change their destinies.
Seeds Of Hope’s primary mission is to provide a safe haven for sexually exploited, trafficked, or at-risk children through education and rehabilitation. By the implementation of Club Houses–safe places where at-risk and exploited girls can be encouraged and equipped to see a brighter tomorrow. Each of these Club Houses is located in strategic areas, and work to form trust throughout the surrounding community.
Seeds Of Hope’s vision is to eliminate the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children through successful replication of their current programs throughout Latin America.
The Current Work
In just over a year Seeds of Hope has partnered with PANI (Child Protective Services), OIJ (Costa Rican FBI), Ministerio de Salud (Costa Rican Health Department), and MEP (Ministry for Public Education), and others. A rigorous staffing process has been implemented to help ensure that all involved are qualified professionals and positive role models.
Seeds of Hope currently has two programs working with victims of child trafficking. The first program, called “The Clubhouse,” is strategically located in a high-risk neighborhood and focuses on the prevention of sexual exploitation for girls ages 9-17. Through education and the guidance of mentors, The Clubhouse has given a fresh burst of life to countless young girls. The second program, called “The Shelter,” protects and rehabilitates girls, aged 12-17, who have been trafficked or sexually exploited. Teaching valuable educational and vocational skills, while working to heal emotional and spiritual wounds, The Shelter has become a new home for girls who would otherwise still be stuck working in the sex industry.
At all times, the goal of Seeds of Hope is to equip young women fully to become successful and productive members of society. Seeds Of Hope’s best work has only just begun! Having started in Costa Rica, it’s their vision to create similar programs throughout Latin America and other at-risk regions around the world. May no one sleep until every young girl is safe and sound with a bright future ahead of her and an equal opportunity at a hope-filled life.
Contact Seeds Of Hope
Contact Seeds Of Hope for more information and to see how you can get involved:
Asociacion Hogares de Rescate Semillas de Esperanza.
Apartado 24-6300, Parrita, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
(506) 8707 2686
Did you know about the widespread problem of Costa Rica sex tourism? Do you want to get involved and be a voice advocating change on behalf of young girls around the country? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s get the conversation going!