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Mariliana Morales Berrios

Costa Rica , Class of 2009

Mariliana Morales Berrios
Costa Rica

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In 1997, Ms. Berrios created the Rahab Foundation. Since then, she has helped over 7000 women and girl victims of trafficking.

The Foundation was created in order to help victims heal and live productive lives. Her Foundation provides victims with counseling services, vocational training, education, food, and whatever other services are necessary. Despite the compassionate nature of her work, she and her staff have been threatened and attacked over their work by traffickers. From 2006 to 2008, she ran a specialized program in a tourist-heavy resort area named Jaco. It provided assistance to 247 victims of both sex trafficking and forced labor, and conducted trainings that were attended by over 5,000 officials, law enforcement personnel, resort workers, and others. In 2009, Ms. Berrios was given a Trafficking in Persons Report Award in recognition of her efforts to combat modern-day slavery.

The Foundation continues to work today. They provide vocational training in sewing, beauty enterprises, baking, computer skills, and other crafts. They have a prevention program that works in schools and colleges, a youth program, and childcare for young children who are part of the families of the people they are helping.

In the 2014 TIP Report, Costa Rica was listed as a Tier 2 country. It is a source, transit, and destination country for both sex trafficking and forced labor. Much of the trafficking which occurs for sexual exploitation is internal, although some happens from other Latin American countries into Costa Rica. The government is adequately prosecuting, but does not provide very many victim services.

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