The Dominican Republic is a beautiful country with a dark side: The country has emerged as a hotspot for child sex tourism. Impoverished children and immigrants 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 U.S. Department of State, over a ten-year period starting in 2003, the country obtained only six convictions against human traffickers. Police are facing a massive trafficking crisis. We partner with local authorities to end sex trafficking.
In collaboration with the Procuraduría Especializada contra el Tráfico Ilícito de Migrantes y Trata de Personas (Public Ministry against Human Trafficking and the Smuggling of Migrants), the Dominican police and CONANI (Child welfare agency), we investigate cases of sex trafficking, rescue victims and provide crisis counselling to support them 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.
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.”
We officially launched our Dominican Republic office in 2013. Since then we have rescued more than 110 children and young women from sex trafficking.
Our Team in the Dominican Republic
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Field Office Director: a.i. Sonia Hernandez
Focus: Sex Trafficking