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Sex Trafficker Convicted for Sexually Exploiting Two Minors in the Dominican Republic

Judgement on 3 August 2022

SANTIAGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – After 20 months of trial, a Dominican court found a woman guilty of trafficking and sexually exploiting two teenagers and sentenced her to 15 years in prison.

Isha* and Lucy* were 16 and 17 years old when they were freed in December 2020 through a rescue operation led by Dominican authorities. IJM´s team came alongside local anti-trafficking police and a prosecutor to intercept Isha and Lucy before they could be transported elsewhere and sold again for sex.

The investigation revealed that the perpetrator held the victims captive in her home. Our team supported local authorities to arrest her and secure pre-trial detention without bail. Both survivors then courageously testified against the woman in a Gesell Chamber, which is a safe room where children can share about their experiences without having to face their aggressor.

Sonia Hernandez, Associate Director of Public Justice System Strengthening for IJM Dominican Republic said:

“The town of Santiago is an area of jurisdiction where we have had many challenges and have seen few convictions. This is the third ever trafficking sentence in Santiago and the fact that the court is issuing a strong sentence represents a great achievement for our work, but most importantly for the community, and especially the children who can see they will be protected.”

Since 2013, IJM has invested in sustainable capacity building efforts with the Dominican Public Ministry, working with local authorities, judges, prosecutors, and other service providers through critical trainings. Sonia adds:

“It is reassuring to see that the work we have been doing with the authorities of the public justice system is giving results. Each trial represents a critical moment to obtain justice for the survivor and send a message to the community that these criminals will be held accountable. Each conviction represents a key milestone in a survivor’s journey to restoration because the State heard them, believed them, and took action to protect them.”

*A pseudonym.

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