What is trafficking victim protection?

Trafficking victim protection includes the identification, referral, protection and assistance, and reintegration of trafficking victims.

Victims or potential victims of trafficking should receive protection and assistance. If you recognize indications of trafficking in a child or adolescent, you should refer them for protection and assistance.

Remember that every practitioner in Costa Rica has an ethical and legal mandate to report and refer possible victims of trafficking for protection and assistance.

How to Refer a Child or Adolescent Trafficking Victim for Protection and Assistance

If you suspect a child or adolescent is a victim of trafficking, report it immediately.

In an emergency, call 9-1-1

Step 1

Preliminary victim identification (“detection”)

Step 2

Reporting the case and referral for protection and assistance

Step 3

Formal identification and referral for protection and assistance

Step 4

Protection and assistance

Step 5

Reintegration

Step 1. Preliminary victim identification (“detection”)

A child or adolescent is preliminarily identified as a presumed trafficking victim based on signals and indicators from observing, interacting, and speaking with the individual.

In Costa Rica, preliminary identification may be conducted by any individual, including practitioners who encounter possible trafficking victims through their work. A wide range of practitioners are involved in detecting presumed trafficking victims.

While practitioners may ask some questions in interacting with a potential child or adolescent trafficking victim and applying a list of indicators, official interviews about a trafficking experience should only be conducted by a professional who is tasked with or has received training in interviewing presumed victims.

Any suspicion of a possible case of trafficking in persons (whether the victim is an adult or a child or adolescent) should be reported immediately to the appropriate authorities as outlined below.

Step 2. Reporting the case and referral for protection and assistance

Presumed child and adolescent trafficking victims may be in danger or in need of urgent assistance. The first priority is to ensure their immediate safety and well-being.

All presumed child and adolescent trafficking victims should be referred to PANI for protection and support.

Once a child or adolescent is preliminarily identified, PANI will initiate the Special Protection Process, which is a set of procedures aimed at protecting and guaranteeing the rights of children and adolescents.

At the same time, a report should be filed with the Prosecutor, OIJ, and/or the Professional Migration Police (PPM).

During working hours, a presumed child or adolescent trafficking victim should be immediately referred to the PANI Local Office for protection and support. Outside of business hours, presumed child or adolescent trafficking victims should be referred through the PANI Regional Unit for Immediate Attention (DARI), which is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

To report a possible case of trafficking in persons, you should contact the Prosecutor’s Office and the OIJ individually or collectively, or contact the PPM.

Depending on the urgency of the case, the report may be submitted by telephone, in person, or by e-mail, providing as much information as possible to facilitate the investigation.

Remember, all practitioners have an ethical and legal mandate to report every possible instance of trafficking in persons. If you are a public official, consult your relevant institutional protocol to follow the appropriate reporting steps. 

Fiscalía Adjunta contra el Tráfico Ilícito de Migrantes y la Trata de Personas (FACTRA)

Teléfono: 2295-3606

Correo: fa_tratapersonas@poder-judicial.go.cr

Sección Especializada en Violencia de Género, Trata de Personas y Tráfico Ilícito de Migrantes del Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ)

Teléfono: 2256-5702

Teléfono: 2256-5703

Correo: oij_dsexuales@poder-judicial.go.cr

Centro de Informaciones Confidenciales (CICO) del OIJ, 24/7

Teléfono: 800-8000-645

Teléfono: 8-8000-645 (WhatsApp)

Correo: cicoOIJ@poder-judicial.go.cr

Policía Profesional de Migración (PPM)

Teléfono: 2106-4005 (investigaciones)

Teléfono: 2106-4001 (operaciones)

Teléfono: 2106-4002 (denuncias)

Correo: unidadinvestigacion@migracion.go.cr

Step 3. Formal identification and referral for protection and assistance

Formal identification is the official determination that a person is a victim of trafficking – also known as accreditation. Accreditation is conducted by the Immediate Response Team (ERI), which is a specialized inter-institutional body created by Law 9095.

ERI is tasked with the accreditation of victims of trafficking. ERI also provides protection and assistance to any presumed trafficking victim and ensures that accredited trafficking victims have access to comprehensive services toward recovery and reintegration. PANI is responsible for screening presumed child and adolescent trafficking victims and referring them to ERI.

Private citizens or members of civil society can contact ERI directly if you suspect that someone you know or interact with may be a victim of trafficking. If you are a public official, you must follow your relevant institutional protocol for reporting trafficking cases.

If any individual is not accredited as a trafficking victim, they can file an appeal (appeals can also be filed by the referring institution or any ERI member). Until the appeal is resolved, ERI must continue to ensure the protection, safety, and assistance of the individual presumed to be a trafficking victim.

When an individual is not a trafficking victim, they may still be (and indeed often are) a victim of another crime and/or violation and still have protection needs. Every vulnerable child and adolescent should be referred to PANI for protection and to address their needs and vulnerabilities.

Equipo de Respuesta Inmediata (ERI)

Teléfono: 6303-7234

Correo: eri@migracion.go.cr

 

Step 4. Protection and assistance

Child and adolescent victims of trafficking are entitled to the following forms of assistance:

PANI is responsible for providing protection and assistance to children and adolescents. During the accreditation process, PANI provides protection and assistance in conjunction with ERI and requests the resources required to support the presumed child or adolescent trafficking victim and their dependents.

Once formally accredited, trafficking victims receive additional protection and assistance.

This Directory of Services is a resource for practitioners in Costa Rica about where to find protection and assistance for child and adolescent trafficking victims and their families in Guanacaste, Puntarenas, and San José.

Step 5. Reintegration

Beyond protection and assistance in the immediate, child and adolescent trafficking victims have the right to receive longer-term reintegration services.

The recovery and reintegration of child and adolescent trafficking victims is managed by PANI in coordination with relevant institutions. Recovery and reintegration assistance includes:

Developed by Warnath Group

 

The development of the IACT Learning Hub was funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the developers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.