29 Sex Trafficking Victims Rescued, Some as Young as 14 Years Old
Law enforcement officials from the Dominican Republic and United States have rescued 29 female sex trafficking victims in Sosua, Dominican Republic. A press release Issued recently by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security stated that 20 of the 29 victims were minors between the age of 14 and 17. Additionally, seven Dominicans were arrested for their alleged part in the trafficking scheme. The rescue and arrests were the result of an undercover operation- It was a joint effort between the Dominican National Police, the Dominican Republic’s Attorney General’s Human Smuggling and Trafficking in Person’s Unit, and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) office.
U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James W. Brewster said “We commend the government of the Dominican Republic and U.S. law enforcement for their commitment to eradicating the sexual exploitation of human beings.”
“It’s unconscionable that people, including children, are being sold for sex in the 21st century,“ he added.
The victims were allegedly brought to a “sex party,” where traffickers had arranged for victims to perform sexual services for adults in attendance. If convicted, the traffickers may face up to 15 years in prison. They are being prosecuted by the Puerto Plata Prosecutors Office.
“The U.S. government will continue working with our partners both domestically and abroad to bring this evil practice to an end,” said Brewster.
After being rescued, the underage victims were turned over to the Dominican Republic’s Child Protective Services Agency.
To report a tip to ICE’s HSI, visit http://www.ice.gov/webform/hsi-tip-form or call 866-DHS-2-ICE.
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