After six months of investigations, IJM supported a rescue operation led by the Dominican Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) that brought freedom to five girls (ages 14 -17) and a young woman from a bar just outside of Santo Domingo.
While investigating a bar, local authorities identified a potential child victim of exploitation and called IJM for support.
Last Thursday night, IJM and police entered the bar located at the end of a dark dirt road looking for one specific girl – Rebeca.* They found Rebeca, a 17-year old Dominican girl, and also rescued four other minors and one 19-year-old victim.
The investigation revealed that men would pay the equivalent of $10 US to rape these young girls in a shack-like room behind the bar. But following the rescue operation, the bar has been permanently shut down. Four men have been arrested and taken to custody: the bar owner, his son, the cashier and a private security guard.
As the night went on, IJM provided on-site trauma support for all survivors and collaborated with local officials to transport Rebeca and the other minors to a government-run child welfare shelter, where they received medical attention and crisis care. The adult victim was escorted to a separate safe house for non-minor victims.
Going forward, IJM will support the public prosecutor in the legal case against the suspects and will represent the survivors in court.
IJM applauds the incredible coordination and collaboration between the AHTU and the public ministry in this case. IJM has worked alongside local officials to end sex trafficking in the Dominican Republic since 2013. Together we've brought more than 100 children and women to freedom.