U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Dominican, U.S. Authorities Rescue 29 Sex Trafficking Victims Including 20 Minors
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We appreciate your continued engagement on the issue of human trafficking, and wanted to share with you a story of a successful investigation and rescue of sex trafficking victims in the Dominican Republic.
It is through the hard work and dedication of stakeholders like you, that we are able to investigate cases and work to bring traffickers to justice. Please see the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement press release below for more information on this case.
Thank you for your continued efforts to combat human trafficking. To learn more about human trafficking, how to identify victims, and report suspected cases of human trafficking, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/bluecampaign.
Dominican, US authorities rescue 29 sex trafficking victims including 20 minors
Victims as young as 14 years old
SOSUA, Dominican Republic – Twenty-nine sex trafficking victims were rescued in Sosua, Dominican Republic, March 11 following an international undercover law enforcement investigation.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Attaché Office in Santo Domingo, the Dominican National Police, the Dominican Republic’s Attorney General’s Human Smuggling and Trafficking in Person’s Unit and the Puerto Plata Prosecutor’s Office conducted the investigation leading up to the rescue.
Twenty of the 29 victims are Dominican minors between the ages of 14 and 17. The remaining nine sex trafficking victims are adults. All of the victims are female.
The rescued victims, who are minors, are in the care of the Dominican Republic’s Child Protective Services Agency.
As part of the investigation, seven Dominican nationals – two females and five males – were arrested. They’re in local custody where they will serve one year of preventative incarceration while their cases are adjudicated. Prosecutors allege the traffickers knowingly transported the victims to what they believed was a “sex party.” They also knowingly arranged for the victims to perform sexual services for adults attending the fake party.
Those arrested include: Rubén Darío Sosa, Luis Manuel Martínez Castillo, Franklin Sánchez García, Rolfi Ismael Ventura, Manuel Emilio Martínez, Idalia Luciano Ferrera and Aniberca Castro Peña.
Law enforcement did not arrest any American citizens as part of this investigation.
The Puerto Plata Prosecutor’s Office is prosecuting the Dominican nationals. If convicted, the defendants face up to 15 years imprisonment.
Operation Underground Railroad and International Justice Mission, both U.S. nonprofit organizations dedicated to eradicating the sexual exploitation of children, assisted with the investigation.
“We commend the government of the Dominican Republic and U.S. law enforcement for their commitment to eradicating the sexual exploitation of human beings,” said U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James W. Brewster. “It’s unconscionable that people, including children, are being sold for sex in the 21st century. The U.S. government will continue working with our partners both domestically and abroad to bring this evil practice to an end.”
Through its International Operations, HSI has 65 operational attaché offices in 46 countries around the world. HSI special agents work closely with foreign law enforcement agencies through a robust network of specialized, vetted units known as Transnational Criminal Investigative Units. Additionally, HSI brings personnel from host countries to the United States to train at the Department of Homeland Security Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.
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