The Dominican Republic is a global tropical tourist destination known for its sandy beaches and natural beauty—but it is also a hotspot for traffickers and sex tourists.
Sex trafficking in the Dominican Republic is predominantly street-based. Customers can easily purchase girls and teens by working through buscones—young men who work as pimps and often drive taxis or motorbikes. The Dominican Republic passed its first anti-trafficking law in 2003, and three years later the government enacted a nationwide plan to combat child sex trafficking. In the decade since this law was enacted, there were only six convictions. Authorities are willing to act, but need more resources to implement the laws that will free children and restrain traffickers.
We rescue victims by uncovering sex trafficking cases and reporting the crimes to the Public Ministry fiscales (public prosecutors) and Dominican police. We help these authorities carry out the rescue operations, providing support to the survivors and ensuring each one is brought to a place of safety.
BRING CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE
We bring criminals to justice. IJM helps the Public Ministry find and arrest suspects, and our lawyers help collect evidence to build a strong case. We also help survivors who choose to share the truth in court prepare for their testimony.
We restore survivors by equipping government agencies and local NGOs with training and skills to provide quality aftercare to sex trafficking survivors. IJM develops treatment plans for each survivor focusing on physical health, trauma-focused counseling, personal security, economic self-sufficiency and, ultimately, reintegration back into a community where they can thrive.
STRENGTHEN JUSTICE SYSTEMS
We strengthen justice systems by developing strategies to improve the overall justice system—the police, courts and social service providers—so that it 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: José Monteiro
Focus: Sex Trafficking