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Last year alone it attracted one million visitors -- double the number of just a decade ago.With thousands of these vacationers estimated to be "sex tourists" seeking underage partners, it's not surprising that young Costa Rican boys and girls who sell their bodies are as much of a tourist attraction as the pristine beaches and lush jungles.The boom in child sex is being fed, in part, by the massive Internet promotion of Costa Rica as a destination for sex tourism.

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she walks out into the streets of San Jose, Costa Rica's capital, wearing an impossibly short miniskirt, high heels, and a tight shirt.

She offers oral sex for $15 and what she calls "complete sex" for $50.

Meet Liliana, 11 years old, and already part of Costa Rica's fast-growing work force: child prostitutes.

Marketing itself as the Mecca of ecotravel and a bastion of tranquility amidst its more unstable Central American neighbors, Costa Rica has managed to make tourism its major source of revenue.

Costa Rica is by no means the only Central American country with child prostitution.

Children can be found selling sex to escape extreme poverty and unhappy homes all through the isthmus, but in Costa Rica the problem seems to be out of control."Costa Rica is the undisputed leader in the region, with Honduras a distant second," says Harris."However, the reaction of the authorities in both countries is substantially different.The minister of tourism in Costa Rica considers us to be the enemy because we give out a bad image of the country.His Honduran counterpart got together with us as soon as concerns over child prostitution were raised to devise a common strategy to fight the problem." Though highly visible in major coastal towns and other tourist destinations, the exact number of child prostitutes is unknown.The government of Costa Rica has not bothered to gather detailed statistics, says Rocio Rodriguez Garcia, coordinator of the defense and investigation division at Casa Alianza.

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