Twenty Four Children Rescued From Sex Slavery in the Dominican Republic, Five Perpetrators Jailed

Jun 15, 2004, 01:00 ET from International Justice Mission

    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