ARLINGTON, Va., June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday officers from the
Dominican Republic National Police led a raid that resulted in the rescue of
24 children who were being sold for commercial sexual exploitation. The
youngest victim rescued is believed to be seven years old. In addition, five
perpetrators were arrested for trafficking related offenses. The lead officer
on the raid, Frank F. Duran Mejia, conducted the operation acting on a tip
from investigators at International Justice Mission, a Washington, DC-based
human rights organization that investigates cases of sex trafficking and
exploitation, and rescues victims of oppression around the world.
"The work in this case by the Dominican Republic National Police and
Deputy Attorney General Eliza Sanchez was exemplary," said Sharon Cohn, vice
president of interventions for IJM. "They acted swiftly on behalf of these
children to rescue them from a horrendous situation. This is going to send a
strong message to people in the Dominican Republic who are exploiting
The Dominican Republic was listed on the Tier 2 watch list in the U.S.
State Department's Trafficking in Persons Report released yesterday. This
categorization means the country is under special scrutiny with regard to its
efforts to stop trafficking, and is in danger of being dropped to Tier 3,
which could result in U.S. government sanctions.
Investigators in yesterday's case reported that the perpetrators had been
preying on orphaned children on the beach and other vulnerable children,
offering them to tourists for sex. In undercover investigations one of the
perpetrators repeatedly bragged about his ability to provide very young
children to customers for the purpose of rape and sexual exploitation.
Alba Beard Marcos is the prosecutor who will prepare the case for trial.
The perpetrators are being held in a Santo Domingo jail awaiting trial.
About International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission is a human rights organization that rescues
victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression. A multi-
national team of law enforcement professionals and a highly qualified legal
staff conduct criminal investigations and collect evidence to rescue victims
and bring perpetrators to justice. The work of IJM has been featured on
Dateline NBC, in Forbes, New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and
other media outlets. IJM was founded by Gary Haugen who was the Officer in
Charge of the U.N. investigation into the Rwanda genocide.
SOURCE International Justice Mission