Dominican Republic

Fighting Sex Trafficking

The Dominican Republic is a beautiful country with a dark side: The country has emerged as a hotspot for child sex tourism.1 Impoverished Dominican children, as well as Haitians who have come to the Dominican Republic in search of better opportunities, are particularly vulnerable. IJM’s field team witnessed this reality firsthand—seeing young teens being openly sold for sex on the streets.

Right now, traffickers and customers alike operate with impunity: according to the Public Ministry, over a ten-year period starting in 2003, the country obtained only six convictions against human traffickers. Police have sent a few traffickers to prison, but they are facing a massive trafficking crisis.

We are ready to partner with local authorities to combat this violence.

What We Do

RESCUE VICTIMS

We investigate cases of trafficking and assist the Procuraduria Especializada contra el Tráfico Ilícito de Migrantes y Trata de Personas (Public Ministry Anti-Trafficking Unit) and Dominican police with rescue operations, and provide crisis counseling and support for survivors at the time of rescue.

BRING CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE

We help collect evidence and support police and Fiscales (public prosecutors) to obtain judicial orders and warrants, and support the court process to hold traffickers accountable.

RESTORE SURVIVORS

We equip government agencies and local NGOs with training to provide quality aftercare to survivors of sex trafficking. We will support survivors cared for by these partners with a holistic treatment plan with the ultimate goal of reintegration back into a community where they can thrive.

STRENGTHEN JUSTICE SYSTEMS

Building on lessons learned through our cases, we develop strategies to improve the overall justice system so that it better protects all child victims of trafficking, not just those IJM can help through individual cases.

“IJM has the opportunity to help change the way the entire country views trafficking. I can imagine a Dominican Republic where criminals are brought to justice, and where these girls and young women find restoration and new lives.”

– Fernando Rodriquez, Field Office Director of IJM Dominican Republic

Our Progress

  • We officially launched our Dominican Republic office in late 2013.

  • In June and July of 2014, IJM conducted a study to assess the prevalence of children being exploited in the commercial sex industry. The results of this study will inform our investigative strategies and future casework.

  • IJM is working closely with local anti-trafficking prosecution and police units, and with the Dominican Child Welfare Agency (CONANI).

Our Team in the Dominican Republic

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

ESTABLISHED 2013

Focus

SEX TRAFFICKING

Field office director

Fernando Rodriguez

Factsheet

IJM Dominican Republic

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1U.S. State Department. “2013 Trafficking in Persons Report.” http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2013/210549.htm