Corporate Social Responsibility: Sexual Exploitation of Children in the Costa Rican Hotel Tourist Industry

Michelle F. Osborne, George Fox University


According to the 2016 International Labour Organization (ILO), more than 168 million children are forced to labor worldwide, and more than half of these children work in some of the worst forms. Sexual exploitation and human trafficking are classified by the ILO as being some of the worst forms of child labor existing in the twenty-first century. Child labor in the worst forms are more prevalent in developing countries due to poverty and lack of education. The United States Department of State monitors human trafficking and child sexual exploitation through an annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP). The 2015 TIP report verified that Costa Rica has been downgraded to the Tier 2 Watch List. If by 2016 the TIP report recommendations are not implemented for the prevention of human trafficking and child labor, the country will fall to a Tier 3 List and face possible sanctions from the US and the World Bank. Since the government has failed to implement necessary reforms, Costa Rica is in a dilemma. The tourist industry is a prime source of income for the country while at the same time the hotel industry is a prime source of where child sexual exploitation occurs (Hetter, 2012). Thus, there was a need for research to discover what is the hotel industry’s corporate social responsibility towards the children who are sexually exploited in the Costa Rican hotels.