LA NACIÓN (Costa Rica)

SAN JOSE - An American man accused of running a sex slave operation in Costa Rica is on the lam while his associates – a Colombian, a Costa Rican and an Egyptian man – are now behind bars following a series of raids this past week.

Police in San Jose, the Costa Rican capital, had been investigating the operation since 2008. The case "was later put on hold because the victims were able to leave the country, but it was relaunched in 2010," Jorge Rojas, head of the country's national detective agency, told La Nación.

Rojas said the prostitutes, who hailed from Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Russia, came to Costa Rica on the assumption they would work as dancers in a San Jose night club. Upon arriving, though, the club operators took away their passports and forced them into prostitution.

Police believe the owner of the club, an American man identified as "Scott," was also the ringleader of the operation. They suspect he may be hiding out somewhere in the United States.

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Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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Welcome to Monday, where China is on high COVID alert as Lunar New Year celebrations kick off, Tonga reels from a massive underwater eruption, and a veteran FBI agent may have found out who betrayed Anne Frank to the Nazis. Meanwhile, Russian daily Kommersant recounts how Kazakhstan has passed from one strongman to another.

[*Sundanese - Indonesia]

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