Limón also known as Puerto Limón, is the capital city of Limón district with a population of around 65,828. It’s in the east of the country, stretching along the Caribbean Coast.
However, there’s a darker side to this natural paradise. Surging cocaine transports and gangs fighting for Limón’s port are fuelling violence and homicides. Gangs can easily recruit vulnerable children and young people because of the high poverty and unemployment rates in the city.
Since 2000, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Limón.
More than 2.2 million people with low incomes in Costa Rica are spending 65% of their income on food, non-alcoholic beverages, and payments for public services, housing and fuel. The poorest 20% have expenses higher than income.
Poverty is still more common in rural areas, but recently the rates have increased most in urban areas.
An estimated 448,000 minors in Costa Rica grow up in poverty being vulnerable to violence, exploitation, drug abuse, sex trafficking and gangs.
Limón province has become Costa Rica’s murder capital. Limón’s homicide rate is triple the national average. And in recent years the number of homicides has increased.
90% of murders in Limón city are caused by clashes between organized crime groups. The majority of murders are linked to organized crime with victims being mostly men. Violence remains high, partly because gangs offer contract killings for as little as $80. Children are often lured into gangs and are used to transport and sell drugs.