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You Can Make a Difference: How to Help Sex Trafficking Survivors in Costa Rica

Mimi Mudd
May 28, 2019

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Women You Would Want to Help 

Imagine being a foreigner in Costa Rica (this shouldn’t be hard for many of you). Now, imagine you arrived here illegally, without any resources. You have no access to medical care and no support system. Your day-to-day survival is dependent on abusive captors who force you to have sex with strangers and endure unspeakable violence.

This is the reality for many women who are victims of sex trafficking in Costa Rica. 

I visited the Rahab Foundation recently to find out more about what they do and the women they help. The biggest thing I learned during my visit is that, if there is any group of women I would want to help most in this world, it would be these women.

I had the opportunity to speak with the administrator and the head counselor at Rahab and they told me a bit about the women in their program. Here are a few of the things they said that really stood out to me:

  • Many of the women arrived here illegally and therefore, they live in fear of being arrested/deported. This prevents them from reporting abuse and violence or seeking medical care.
  • Many have experienced extreme trauma that has left them physically and/or psychologically impaired. Gastrointestinal issues due to stress are common as are gynecological problems. One woman suffered trauma so severe she lost the ability to speak.
  • The women want to learn English to improve their chances of getting a job, but many lack basic reading and writing skills in Spanish.
  • Many are mothers who struggle to leave sex work behind because they need to support their children.
  • Though they learn trade skills through Rahab, the women often return to prostitution because they lack the self confidence to use their new job skills.

You Have the Skills They Need

If you can read this right now, you have an ability that could benefit the women in Rahab’s program.

One of Rahab’s primary objectives is to help the women develop the skills and confidence to find paying work outside of prostitution. The foundation provides them with a variety of vocational classes such as sewing and crafts, computation, and cooking.  However, Rahab does not currently offer any classes on how to market and sell the things they make. The women who learn sewing and crafts would greatly benefit from a class or workshop on sales. Someone who has had success selling through Facebook would be a great volunteer for such a class. Most of these classes are provided by volunteers who make a commitment of three-months or less. Therefore, the foundation is always seeking new volunteers to fulfill their programs.  Additionally, many of the women struggle to attend the classes because they cannot find childcare. Rahab is always in need of volunteer babysitters so that mothers can attend classes or counseling without worrying about the safety of their children. 

Learn More About Rahab

Check out the short documentary about Rahab below, or simply scroll down to learn how you can start helping now.


How to Start Helping Now

Rahab needs volunteers immediately in the following areas:

  • Childcare/babysitting
  • Computation/typing
  • English/Spanish 
  • Sales & Marketing (Facebook)

Donate Your Gently Used Clothes or Shoes 

One thing the women in Rahab’s program always need is nice clothes and shoes that they can wear to job interviews. At our next meeting, PWNCR will be collecting donations of clothing and shoes for the women of Rahab (gently used children’s clothing is welcome too). For your donation of any size, you will receive an extra door prize ticket, doubling your chance of winning one of the fantastic door prizes we raffle to attendees of the meeting.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us via email or complete the form below and we will put you in communication with the right people at Rahab.

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