On Tuesday, February 5, Guanacaste-based nonprofit organization Salvando Corazones received approval from PANI (Costa Rica’s equivalent to Child Protective Services) to officially open its doors. In 2012, Salvando Corazones became the first nonprofit to be licensed in Costa Rica to house survivors of commercial sexual exploitation between the ages of 8 and 18.
Recently Costa Rica was identified by the U.S. TIP office as one of the top 14 countries in the world needing assistance to fight human trafficking. Interpol recognizes Costa Rica as the fastest rising country in the hemisphere for child prostitution. Until now, there has been no place to safely care for children rescued from the sex trade.
Salvando Corazones has been working with PANI, the Health Ministry and other groups to get this safe home open, providing badly needed shelter and support to young victims of abuse and human trafficking. “Costa Rica is a wonderful country,” said Maria Fejervary, Founder of Salvando Corazones. “Let’s help to remove the darkness and bring new light to these children.”
The Salvando Corazones safe house in Guanacaste will house 18 girls including caregivers, and this is only the beginning. Much education is needed to change the way people in Costa Rica, in the States and worldwide think about child prostitution. Programs are needed to educate everyone on the long-term psychological damage to these girls, and how to protect them. Salvando Corazones is also working in these areas to put together programs for schools and for parents.
Salvando Corazones welcomes the involvement of anyone with time or financial resources to support the children. To learn more about the organization and how you can contribute, visit www.salvandocorazones.org or contact Maria Fejervary at 8706-6601 or email@example.com.