Maximum Sentencing Sends Strong Message To Traffickers to Stop Abuse in DR | International Justice Mission shield arrow-simple-alt-top arrow-simple-alt-left arrow-simple-alt-right arrow-simple-alt-bottom facebook instagram linkedin medium pinterest rss search-alt twitter video-play arrow-long-right arrow-long-left arrow-long-top arrow-long-bottom arrow-simple-right arrow-simple-left arrow-simple-bottom readio arrow-simple-top speaker-down plus minus cloud hb pin camera globe cart rotate star edit arrow-top arrow-right arrow-left arrow-bottom check search close square speaker-up speaker-mute return play pause love

Maximum Sentencing Sends Strong Message To Traffickers to Stop Abuse in DR

Two Dominican men are behind bars where they will spend the next 20 years in prison for sexually abusing a young teen, receiving the maximum sentence allowable under Dominican law. The convictions are a major victory for IJM’s team in the Dominican Republic and for 15-year-old Clarisa,* who testified against the two men. One of the perpetrators—a known pimp of young girls—was additionally convicted of sex trafficking.

“In a country where few human trafficking cases are investigated due to a lack of trained and equipped law enforcement personnel to investigate such crimes, each trial represents a critical moment to obtain justice for the survivor and to send a message to the community that these criminals will be held accountable,” said IJM Field Office Director Fernando Rodriguez.

IJM learned of Clarisa’s case in 2014, representing her in one of our first cases in the Dominican Republic. She told an IJM psychologist how a man raped her despite her resistance and then sold her to another man who also assaulted her. Clarisa was 14 years old at the time, but because of a mental disability, functions much like a child.

IJM’s team worked quickly with a local prosecutor and police to arrest the suspects within two weeks and secure pre-trial detention, keeping the suspects off the streets. IJM’s assistance and diligent evidence collection were key factors in securing convictions relatively quickly, just 14 months after the arrests. During the trial, IJM staff supported Clarisa and her mother as they testified openly about their painful experiences, even during aggressive questioning by defense attorneys.

The lengthy sentencing handed down on Monday marks the largest to date in an IJM case in the Dominican Republic.

“The sentence is very reassuring,” Rodriguez said. “I think the tribunal got righteously angry when they saw the evidence showing that these criminals had taken advantage of Clarisa’s cognitive delay, and imposed the maximum sentence possible.”

Today, Clarisa is going to school and receiving the medical care she needs at a local aftercare home. She is moving toward a future where she will be less vulnerable. And this week, her city will be a safer place for other girls like her.

*A pseudonym.

Give today to help us fight sex trafficking around the world!

You might also be interested in…

see more

Newsletter Sign Up

Stay connected to the work! Sign up to get updates straight to your inbox.

Media Contact

We're here to answer your questions. Please fill out the form below and someone from our team will follow up with you soon.

More Information

Petra Kooman

Director of Marketing and Public Relations
pkooman@ijm.ca
519.679.5030 x.229

Make an Impact

Your skills, talents, and ideas are a force for change. From birthday parties to polar dips, your fundraising campaign can stop the violence.

Learn More

Thank you for signing up to learn more about starting a fundraiser. We will be in touch soon!

In the meantime, please take a look at our free guide: 25 Tips for the Novice Fundraiser.

Need Help?

Need more information?
We're here to help.
Contact us at events@ijm.ca