Endearing optimism, merengue music, baseball, and miles of beautiful coastline are familiar aspects of the Dominican Republic landscape. But the scenery is not always this picturesque. Sex tourism and cheap labor are lucrative commodities in the Dominican Republic. The commercial sexual exploitation of minors by foreign tourists and locals is a common sight, especially at beach resorts and the street level.
Migrant workers and undocumented Haitians seeking better employment opportunities often find themselves engaged in forced labor in the agricultural and construction sectors. Women and children may be forced into prostitution, street vending, and domestic work for survival.
Our partner, International Justice Mission, has been successfully rescuing trafficking victims and filing and prosecuting cases against traffickers since 2013. Once rescued, there is limited government assistance available and there are no government funded aftercare facilities. IJM provides aftercare services but requested that we consider opening a home to address the need for transitional housing for girls who cannot safely return to their communities.