Home » News » Agencies & People » Andrews offloads key branch on South Coast previous nextAgencies & PeopleAndrews offloads key branch on South CoastNational chain has sold its businesses in Hastings to fast-expanding rival Oakfield.Nigel Lewis1st December 20200760 Views National estate agency chain Andrews has partially withdrawn from the South Coast property market and sold its branch in Hasting to a rival.Oakfield Estate Agents, a much younger firm, has bought the business from Andrews for an undisclosed sum. In January it bought another but smaller Hastings rival, Smart Property.Andrews says that, despite its business being well known on the East Sussex coast, the estate agency is to focus its efforts away from the three kiss-me-quick resort.The entire estate agency business is being transferred to Oakfield including sales, lettings, property management and staff.Oakfield are to convert Andrews former flagship branch in Hastings into its headquarters but will keep its own site in the town for its property management, accounts and block management teams.“We are delighted to have acquired this highly respected business, premises and expert local team, our company has been established for 25 years, its growth over that time has been largely organic, stemming from the referrals of our client base,” says Neil Newstead (pictured), CEO of Oakfield.“The growth and development of our team has evolved hugely over the years and we are recognised as the leading agent in this area.”“We will continue to expand, and we are keen to look at other opportunities to grow our business further, whilst maintaining exceptional customer service levels and property expertise.”oakfield neil newstead Andrews estate agency December 1, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021
FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail WHAT IS ON YOUR MIND TODAY?Todays “READERS POLL” question is :Do you feel that local Attorney Scott Dank’s can make the Vanderburgh County Demo Party competitive once again?We urge you to take time and click the section we have reserved for the daily recaps of the activities of our local Law Enforcement professionals. This section is located on the upper right side of our publication.If you would like to advertise or submit and article in the CCO please contact us City-County [email protected] County Observer has been serving our community for 17 years.FOOTNOTE: We would like to personally thank many of our readers for expressing their good wishes and support to our Publisher during the time of a major medical crisis. Special thanks to the outstanding doctors and medical staff at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville, Tenn. for providing him with excellent health care over the last 17 days. During the last several days he has been quietly resting at his Evansville home enjoying a belated Christmas with his family. Although his medical issues hasn’t been corrected we are becoming encouraged about his progress.Next week we shall give you an additional update concerning his progress.
The late Gert Bidder was still working for Burbidge’s Bakery in Andover at the ripe old age of 96.She had worked for the Hampshire business since 1936 and did not want to stop, although Steve Burbidge, managing director, explains her workload lessened the older she got and, in the end, she just washed the tea towels. British Baker has not been able to ascertain whether she was the oldest-known person working in a retail bakery, but it does seem highly likely.Burbidge’s is not alone in retaining workers who have long passed the default retirement age. Beaney’s, of Strood, in Kent, had a former manageress who loved working so much, she continued to come in for a few hours to help out on a voluntarily basis “just for the fun of it” when she was 82.But the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union reckons fewer than 5% of over-65s are employed in the sector overall, across manufacturing and retail.Improve, the sector skills council for food and drink manufacturing and processing, says there are 101,000 people working in the manufacturing side of the bakery industry and 37% of the current workforce will be eligible for retirement within the next 20 years. Its most recent Labour Market Information Profile shows fewer than 0.5% are older than 65.Yet this looks set to change: the government is consulting on plans to abolish the default retirement age in October next year, which could see the number of post-65s in employment soar. And the Department of Work and Pensions says more than 800,000 people will turn 65 in 2012, 150,000 more than the record level expected next year.Throw into the mix the Equality Act 2010, extending ageism protections, and an increasing state pension age, and you can see how the foundations have been put in place for a more mature workforce.Welcoming older workersBurbidge welcomes the older workforce. He believes that if older people stay active, they will stay young and healthy and benefit employers, too. “I think people prefer to be served by someone who is more elderly, because there’s a respect there.” He acknowledges there is a need to be healthy in a retail bakery environment because “there is a lot of walking around”, but adds: “People should not be farmed off at 65.”Beaney’s has one female member of staff who is 66. Owner Chris Beaney says he is happy for her to carry on working. He has had drivers working the odd day for him beyond 65 and he has heard, anecdotally through the trade, of some bakers working into their 70s. “Most of our shop staff are mature women who work two or three mornings and, in the bakery, we’ve got two or three men coming up to 65 and we have to make a decision what to do about that in the next couple of years.He adds: “Older people have a way of working that sometimes youngsters need time to grow into.”Double-edged swordBeaney says that it is important to retain some older people, because their good practices rub off on other workers. However, he does have worries because he says the older people get, the slower they become and he is concerned that fewer oppor-tunities might exist for younger people asa result.Age UK denies this. Michelle Mitchell, charity director, says: “There is not a shred of evidence that younger workers will suffer because of this change in policy.” She says demographic changes over the next 10 years will result in fewer young people entering the workforce and chasing promotions, and many employees reaching their 60s choose to change jobs, downsize or go part-time, leaving plenty of openings for their younger counterparts.But Beaney has known many bakers who have kept staff for 20 years. “They get to 65 together and they then find they are not so capable and there is no one to run the business. I have known some close down, because they do not have a production line of young people coming in.”Gill Brooks-Lonican, the 66-year-old chief executive of the National Association of Master Bakers, says: “The problem that will occur now is, yes you can be 68 or 72 and really fit and active, but people do deteriorate and get slower and the rest of the staff start to take exception if they have to carry them.”Employers will feel trapped into keeping older workers. It is very difficult to say, ’I will get rid of them by going down the capability route’. People don’t want to do that to someone they have employed for 30 years or more.”The Age Employment Network (TAEN), which works to promote an effective labour market that serves the needs of people in mid- and later life, as well as employers and the economy, says 13% of the total UK workforce currently works beyond 65. Chris Ball, chief executive, believes this will be 50% in the next 10-15 years.He says that even if there are some aspects of the job older workers cannot do, there will be elements that they can do and employers must make adjustments to accommodate. “We need the skills, knowledge and ability of older people. Cutting people off at the knees when they reach 65 is daft. If there is a genuine fear about health and safety issues, the employer should make risk assessments and, if someone is not up to doing the job, then they shouldn’t do it.”Ball says the safety of machinery should not depend on the acrobatic skills of the employee to get out of the way. “Employers must do all the things they would normally do to make sure they are properly trained for the job and properly protected and, if there is a hazard, you either remove or isolate it. If there is an individual who will not be suitable for a particular type of job, you don’t employ them for that job.” Ball believes younger workers who are naïve and not trained are more of a risk. The benefits of post-65 employees lNo maternity leavelMore customer-friendlylAppreciative of the job and work harder to keep itlCan add up the price of two scones without using a calculator or writing it up on the back of a baglLess anxious about leaving promptly on Friday nightlMore reliablelThey want to worklBetter at salesSource: National Association of Master Bakers Forced retirement Figures published by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills show the benefits of scrapping forced retirement far outweigh the costs for employers. In the first year after the default age is scrapped, employers are set to gain £45m, making savings on administrative and policy costs and a cut to retirement red tape, against estimated costs of £38.2m. While these are one-off costs, the savings will continue far into the future, rising to £71m annually after a decade. Four out of five requests to continue working past retirement age are accepted.
HUCE extends a warm welcome to its newest cohort of environmental fellows, who will join a current group of scholars embarking on their second year of the program. Now in its fifth season, the fellows program recruits a diverse group of intellectually-curious, top-achieving scholars to tackle complex environmental challenges in a wide array of disciplines.Each of the six incoming fellows will work closely with a faculty mentor during their two-year stint at Harvard, in addition to attending a variety of group meetings, faculty-led discussions, and the center’s environmental fellows dinner series.Returning for their final year of the program are fellows Daniel Barber, Jacob Krich, Elizabeth Landis, Alexander Stine, and Rich Wildman. For more information on the program.The 2011 environmental fellows are Emily V. Fischer, an atmospheric chemist; Chris Golden, an ecologist and epidemiologist; Francis Ludlow, a historical climatologist; Fabien Paulot, an atmospheric chemist; Jenny Suckale, a geophysicist; and Hillary Young, a community ecologist. Read Full Story
Read Full Story Through edX/HarvardX, the famed Harvard College General Education course, “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science,” is coming to a kitchen near you.Led by David Wetiz and Michael Brenner at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the class will explore how everyday cooking and haute cuisine can illuminate basic principles in physics and engineering, and vice versa.During each week of the course, students will watch as chefs reveal the secrets behind some of their most famous culinary creations — often right in their own restaurants. Inspired by such cooking mastery, the Harvard team will then explain, in simple and sophisticated ways, the science behind the recipe.Topics will include: soft matter materials, such as emulsions, illustrated by aioli; elasticity, exemplified by the done-ness of a steak; and diffusion, revealed by the phenomenon of spherification, the culinary technique pioneered by Ferran Adrià.To help make the link between cooking and science, an “equation of the week” will capture the core scientific concept being explored and participants will also have the opportunity to be experimental scientists in their very own laboratories — their kitchens. By following along with the engaging recipe of the week, taking measurements, and making observations, the aim is to convey how to think both like a cook and a scientist.Registration for the course is open now. The start date is October 2013.
Three faculty of Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project released a report today that cites political dysfunction as the greatest barrier to strengthening the nation’s competitiveness. The report, which contains five years of in-depth analysis on competitiveness and surveys of global business leaders and the public, lays out concrete steps that could be taken by the business community and government at all levels to improve the prospects of American workers and companies.“Now, more than any time in recent history, the U.S. needs a national economic strategy involving action by business, state and local governments, and the federal government,” said Michael E. Porter, Harvard Business School (HBS) professor and co-chair of the project. “To make the U.S. more competitive, it is imperative that we have a fact-based national discussion about our economy and future prosperity. Unfortunately, the rhetoric this election year has added to the almost complete disconnect between the national discourse and the reality of what is causing our problems and what to do about them. This must change.”“The U.S. economy is growing, but only slowly, and it’s leaving too many Americans behind,” said Jan W. Rivkin, HBS professor and co-chair of the project. “Economic anxiety is fueling angry, divisive political campaigns with proposals that could make the economy worse. The American political system is now threatening the American economy, and vice versa. We need a sober look at the strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. economy so that leaders in government, business, and other parts of society can work together on a national economic strategy for shared prosperity.”The report aims to help bridge the gap between how Americans from different walks of life think about the nation’s economic challenges. The authors believe it is imperative that Americans understand why the country’s economic performance is weaker than in recent generations and how solving real problems will require people to compromise and move away from simplistic, ideological positions.In the United States today, larger companies and the best-off citizens are thriving, but working- and middle-class Americans are struggling, as are many small businesses, a trend HBS observed consistently during the course of the project. To gauge how business leaders assess the prognosis for competitiveness — that is, U.S. firms’ ability to compete successfully in the global market while supporting high and rising living standards for the average American — the project surveyed HBS alumni on expected future trends in competitiveness and the consequences for job growth. The 2016 survey revealed that, for the first time since the surveys began in 2011, pessimism about U.S. competitiveness is deepening.The survey found that:Half of the respondents expected U.S. competitiveness to decline in three years, with firms less able to compete, less able to pay well, or both. Just 30 percent of alumni were optimistic, expecting one or both dimensions of competitiveness to improve and neither to decline. The remaining 20 percent expected no change from current conditions. Forty-one percent expected firms to be less able to pay well in three years, while only 25 percent expected them to be better able to pay well. Business tax reform offers enormous promise, with approval for the major components of reform across political affiliations. Carbon, not consumption, taxes are the best prospects for the future. Several new tax reform ideas beyond simple rate changes are promising. Comprehensive reform of personal taxes may have to wait, but a minimum tax rate on very high earners offers political promise. Officials need to better educate citizens about the nation’s fiscal future.Porter, Rivkin, and Desai called for establishment of a U.S. economic strategy with the goal of increasing shared prosperity. The report laid out detailed agendas for the business community, state and local governments, and the federal government to improve competitiveness. These included: business investment in workforce skills; regional economic collaboration between firms; cross-sector collaborations among leaders in government, business, nonprofits, educational institutions, labor organizations, and other partners; and an achievable eight-point policy plan for federal lawmakers, which includes corporate tax reform, easing immigration for high-skilled immigrants, infrastructure investments, and addressing distortions and abuses in the international trading system. Forty-seven percent expected the typical U.S. firm to employ fewer people in three years, while only 16 percent anticipated more employees.In the aftermath of the Great Recession, contrary to the ill-informed diagnoses of many politicians and pundits, the project’s work made clear that America’s problems began well before 2008. The project identified 19 elements that determine national competitiveness, such as the corporate tax code and the political system, and asked HBS alumni to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each in this country. As business leaders on the front lines of global competition, HBS alumni are well-positioned to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the domestic business environment.This year, global business leaders cited the political system and logistics infrastructure (roads, bridges, and the like) as the elements that are deteriorating most rapidly in the United States, and the communications infrastructure and entrepreneurship as the elements that are improving most rapidly.Historically, the authors noted, the United States has set a bold agenda in economic policy and competitiveness. The nation invested heavily in infrastructure and education, made a commitment to strict antitrust policy to ensure open competition, and created institutions for innovation. Bold policy initiatives strengthened the business environment and built crucial assets that enabled America to be competitive.Today, the major obstacle to economic progress is politics, especially at the federal level, the study said. A large majority of alumni of every political affiliation believed that the political system has obstructed economic growth and competitiveness: 56 percent among Democrats, 82 percent among Republican, 74 percent among Independents, and 80 percent among those otherwise affiliated.The report highlights how Washington has been largely ineffective, with the current Congress on track to enact fewer laws than any session since the 1940s. Yet, the authors said, this is a time when America needs the government to act because federal policy determines or deeply influences many of the weakest elements of the U.S. business environment.To get a better understanding of business leaders’ views on federal policy changes that could improve competitiveness, the School asked alumni to state their preferences on policy areas that have been identified as having the greatest impact on economic growth. The strongest consensus was on improving infrastructure (endorsed by 80 percent of respondents), high-skilled immigration reform (77 percent), and streamlining regulation (71 percent). Responsible unconventional energy development — the subject of a polarizing debate pitting environmental groups opposed to fossil fuel development against the oil and gas industry — received 60 percent support. The report also broke down preferences for each policy area by political affiliation.While the public and global business leaders agreed on America’s weaknesses, the public perceived the U.S. business environment as having very few strengths. The weaker support reflected that many people could neither agree nor disagree, or did not know, whether policy changes would be good or bad for the economy. For example, in the public survey, the greatest number of respondents (32 percent) said they didn’t know what action would create a sustainable federal budget. The report’s authors noted that divisive political rhetoric and uninformed national debate has left the average American confused about what the country needs to do to restore the economy.The authors took a particularly close look at business tax reform, an example of a major policy area in need of reform that has been thwarted by political dysfunction.“Tax reform is the single area with the greatest potential to immediately improve our economy. We are long overdue for structural reform of the tax code, given how the global economy has changed over the last 30 years and how little we have done to keep up with those changes,” said HBS Professor Mihir A. Desai. “Fortunately, our survey revealed broad consensus on the nature of the problems — particularly on corporate taxes — and the fruitful directions for reform. The survey also revealed several proposed reforms — a carbon tax, a new higher bracket, and the deductibility of dividends at the corporate level — that are really promising and that enjoy surprisingly broad support.”Some key findings included:Business leaders understand that taxation is broken, and the appetite for reform is widespread. Less than 5 percent of global business leaders surveyed saw no need for corporate tax reform.
Arriving at Harvard with “two seabags and a guitar,” Gandy Fischbein joined the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) and went on to serve as part of the first groups of women assigned to Navy combat ships. She has served her country with distinction, including a recall to active duty and immediate deployment during the start of the Iraq War. She achieved the rank of lieutenant commander, earning a Navy Commendation Medal, three Navy Achievement Medals, and a U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation, among other awards.At Harvard, Gandy Fischbein developed a passion for rugby, and she continued to play in domestic and international competitions for two decades after College, including three years as part of the USA Rugby Women’s National Team Athlete Pool. Her leadership in the sport has continued: She is now the head coach of All Navy Men’s Rugby — the first woman to head a men’s team in the history of the Armed Forces.She’s channeled her love for the sport into empowering others, promoting rugby among girls and women through the Sierra Leone Rugby Union and underserved communities through Play Rugby USA.Gandy Fischbein helped found Ernst & Young’s EY Veterans Network to help veterans find employment after their military service. She has also volunteered for more than 10 years with A Leg To Stand On’s annual Rocktoberfest benefit concert to help children with limb disabilities in the developing world.“Koma Gandy Fischbein’s dedication to service — to her country, to her community, and to Harvard — is an admirable example of the power of giving back,” noted HAA President Alice Hill ’81, Ph.D. ’91. “In pursuing her passions, she strives to transform the lives of others, whether it’s through rugby, music, or her commitment to veterans. She embodies the values of the University, and we’re proud she will be a part of this tradition of welcoming alumni back to Harvard.”The annual meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association will take place on May 28 from 2:30 to 4:15 p.m. in Tercentenary Theatre, Harvard Yard. All Harvard alumni and members of the Harvard community are invited to attend. Alumni should visit the Commencement website to obtain free tickets, while faculty and staff on campus can attend using their Harvard ID. For those unable to attend, the proceedings will be streamed live online. The Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) has announced that decorated U.S. Navy veteran and rugby pioneer Koma Gandy Fischbein ’95 will serve as chief marshal at Harvard’s 369th Commencement on May 28.“Twenty-five years after we walked together at Commencement, Harvard continues to inspire and inform our lives,” said Gandy Fischbein, the director of curriculum production for Codecademy, a New York–based education company that offers free online coding classes. “I look forward to returning to Tercentenary Theatre for this momentous day to celebrate all of our journeys, especially those just beginning for the Class of 2020.”Elected by her classmates, Gandy Fischbein will represent the entire Harvard alumni community, leading the procession at the annual meeting of the HAA (Afternoon Program).“I am humbled to receive this honor from so many distinguished classmates,” she said.Since 1899, the 25th reunion class has been charged with selecting a chief marshal based on criteria that include success in one’s field as well as service to both the University and the broader society. As this year’s chief marshal, Gandy Fischbein joins an illustrious list of Harvard alumni who have held the position, including former U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith ’94, who served last year; astronaut Stephanie Wilson ’88; Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Linda Greenhouse ’68; City Year co-founder Alan Khazei ’83; former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan ’86; and author and journalist Farai Chideya ’90.In addition to leading the afternoon alumni procession into Tercentenary Theatre, the chief marshal hosts a lunch for dignitaries and guests in Widener Library. “Koma Gandy Fischbein’s dedication to service — to her country, to her community, and to Harvard — is an admirable example of the power of giving back.” — Alice Hill, HAA president
View Comments Star Files Related Shows It’s prisoner 24601 like never before. Ramin Karimloo recently released a stunning music video of the song “Losing,” a track from his upcoming EP The Road to Find Out – East. The “Broadgrass” (Broadway meets Bluegrass) track has the Les Miserables hunk front and center, singing his heart out, playing the piano, and cooking up a sensible breakfast with some girl (OK, maybe we’re a bit jealous.) The song is co-written by Karimloo and actor Hadley Fraser and features additional vocals by Katie Birtill. As recently reported, The Road To Find Out – East, available on April 7, will be the first of four EPs in a series from Karimloo, with North, South and West to follow. Additional tracks include folk renditions of “Oh What A Beautiful Morning” and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.” Have a look at the “Losing” music video (or two or three looks; we don’t blame you) below! Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 4, 2016 Les Miserables Ramin Karimloo
Climb for a Cause: Justice (second row, arm raised) and the rest of her crew atop Africa’s highest peak.Things were going poorly when Taylor Justice arrived on the scene of the accident. Justice was descending 15,230-foot Salkantay Pass in the Peruvian Andes last year, when she came upon a man in her hiking party who had stumbled and fallen down a 35-foot embankment into a river. The man was bleeding from a healthy gash on his forehead, but his wrists took the brunt of the fall: one was dislocated, the other had a compound fracture with the bone poking through the skin. The man was screaming in pain, his hiking partner was incapacitated by shock, and the porters and cooks on the scene were at a loss for what to do. But Taylor sprang into action.She used a t-shirt to stop the bleeding from the head wound and a water bottle and towels to clean the wrist. In fluent Spanish, she instructed the cooks on how to make a splint from some cardboard and to unlace their shoes, using the laces to secure it to the man’s wrists. She lined up the men to stand across from each other and form a back brace with their arms for transport. The injured man was hauled out to safety thanks to Taylor, but here’s the twist: Taylor was only 12-years-old.Now 13, Taylor appears to be the typical American teenager. The seventh grader from Middlesburg, Va., likes sports, hanging out with friends, and bubbles with the energy reserved for the young; she is small, almost fragile looking in street clothes, wears braces, and is on the honor roll.Taylor has been on skis since she was two years old, spending winters and holidays in Aspen honing her skills. When a good family friend died while skiing on Mount Sopris in 2008, Taylor turned grief into motivation to help others. She walked into a ski patrol shack at Buttermilk Mountain and asked if she could tag along for the day. Soon she was being asked back, and became a member of the Junior Ski Patrol.“I love helping people no matter where I am,” she says. “The fact that I get to ski and help people, I love it.”Soon after, Taylor joined a climb of Africa’s highest peak, 19,341-foot Mount Kilimanjaro, with a group of women to raise money for the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary.“Taylor is definitely one of the most amazing young women I have ever met,” says Ginna Kelly, founder of Climb for Conservation and organizer of the expedition. “She is so motivated to climb mountains and do good in the world. She is really a committed conservationist at such a young age.”Taylor was committed, but her mother balked at first. After months of begging, mom finally relented and even signed on for the trip, too. Taylor dove in head first, making a commitment to helping save the endangered Black Rhino, predicted to go extinct in the wild by 2025. The trip raised over $30,000.She and her mother—and 13 other women—reached the top of Kilminjaro in November. Taylor had to be held down at the summit as high winds threatened to literally blow her off the mountain, and she was slowed by an altitude headache, but never lost sight of the ultimate goal.“That’s probably the scariest part: when you think you can’t make it,” she says. “I didn’t think I could make it. I had 10 feet to go to the top, but I kept stopping every two seconds, I had to sit down and stretch.”The Kilimanjaro climb not only opened Taylor’s eyes to how big of an impact women can make on the world, but also the lives of those who may not have the modern luxuries we are used to.“Here in America, we take running water for granted,” she says. “I turn a knob and water comes out. There, they have to walk miles to get their water, boil it to make it clean. I saw 10-year-old kids carrying water on their heads. It was really amazing. It was impressive how strong they were.”“I think most young kids nowadays have grown up being more aware of climate change and all the environmental issues going on around the world,” said Kelly. “I think most kids are concerned about it and want to do something about it. Taylor is really a perfect example of that.”Taylor is already angling for a spot in Climb for Conservation’s planned treks to Machu Picchu and Mount Everest basecamp. Most 13-year-old girls don’t dream of one day climbing the world’s highest mountain, but Taylor says Everest is her ultimate goal.“Everest is the highest mountain in the world so it’s really intimidating, but also it’s a great challenge,” says Taylor.Taylor has been getting a lot of attention for her various experiences and conservation efforts, and it would be easy to get a big head during the process. Her desire to help and inspire people, no matter the situation, keeps her grounded. Taylor counts her blessings and is aware she is leading a unique life.“Some people won’t do in their entire lifetime what I’m doing now,” she says. “I’m not waiting to live my dreams.”Read more about Taylor and her expeditions on her website, taylorclimbs.org
By Gustavo Arias Retana/Diálogo November 15, 2018 In September 2018, Costa Rican and Panamanian authorities dismantled a human trafficking ring that smuggled people from China to Latin America. Wálter Espinoza, head of the Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Agency, a unit of the Costa Rican Supreme Court, told the press that the two-year investigation led to a ring linked to criminals in other Latin American countries, such as Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. “There was a group of Chinese nationals who had ties in Asia, Europe, and South America. The criminals had contacts that facilitated the arrival of a significant number of people to our country,” Espinoza said. “Victims had two possible fates: Some would stay in Costa Rica, while others would be sent to other places, especially the United States and Canada. Those who remained in our country were sent to commercial businesses, mainly to suppliers [to supermarkets] and restaurants.” According to authorities, the Chinese citizens were transported from China to Europe by air. From there, they were taken to Ecuador, Peru, or Colombia, with Costa Rica as their final destination for a $22,000 to $45,000 fee. Most migrants entered via Juan Santamaría International Airport in San José, Costa Rica, with the complicity of some state officials, now under arrest. In Costa Rica, merchants exploited Asian migrants and “bought” them, while those smuggled to Panama paid to be taken to the United States or Canada. In most cases, they indebted themselves to criminal organizations and had to pay their debt with work. In Costa Rica, authorities detained 29 people connected to this case. Among the detainees were three Chinese nationals who led the smuggling ring, 10 immigration officials, a lawyer who forged documents, and 15 people in charge of logistics. Authorities also rescued two victims. In Panama, David Mendoza, head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office against Organized Crime, told the press that authorities detained 10 members of the human smuggling ring and rescued six victims. “We were after an organized group engaged in migrant smuggling, in which all victims were of Asian origin. The smuggling ring in Panama consisted of Panamanian citizens and foreigners,” Mendoza told the press. Not isolated cases The dismantling of the criminal gang compares to other similar cases, which clearly points to a human trafficking/smuggling route from China to Latin America. In late September 2018, Colombian authorities arrested a Nepalese national who led a gang that smuggled people from Asia, some of whom were from China. Smugglers charged about $10,000 to move people from the Colombian-Ecuadorean border to Panama, where they would head to the United States on their own. The Colombian National Police’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Interpol said in a press release that the gang moved about eight migrants daily. In this case, authorities detained 32 people. Insufficient control from China The U.S. government denounced the problems China poses concerning human trafficking in its Trafficking in Persons 2018 Report: Country Narratives, published in June. “The government of the People’s Republic of China does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of [human] trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so,” the report states. According to the report, China is urged to update the legal framework to completely criminalize all forms of trafficking and establish formal procedures to identify and protect human trafficking victims. Statistical management of these cases should also be improved as current figures make it difficult to measure the real impact of the problem. The report estimates that Chinese men, women, and children are subjected to forced labor, as well as labor and sex trafficking, in at least 57 countries. “Men, women, and children are forced to work in restaurants, shops, agriculture, and factories. Chinese men experience abuse at construction sites, in coal and copper mines, and in other extractive industries, where they face conditions indicative of forced labor. Chinese women and girls are subjected to sexual exploitation throughout the world,” the U.S. Department of State report concludes.