Panamanian authorities announced Thursday that as part of an operation to disrupt a sex trafficking ring, 10 children were rescued and three people in Panama and Costa Rica were arrested.
“The victims in this case range between the ages of four and 16 and the people involved are close relatives” of the minors, said Emeldo Marquez, a senior Panamanian prosecutor.
He explained that the relatives “facilitated” the shipment of the children from the town of Baru, 525 kilometers (326 miles) southwest of Panama City, to the Costa Rican border, to be sexually exploited.
In a statement, the Panamanian prosecutor’s office confirmed that the number of children rescued was ten.
Panamanian police in Baru as well as Costa Rican authorities in the border towns of Barrio San Jorge and Laurel worked together to dismantle the sex trafficking ring and make the arrests.
Marquez said the detainees can face prison sentences ranging from 20 to 30 years.