A Note From The Editor: In Darling Issue No. 10 we announced a new partnership with International Justice Mission (IJM), specifically partnering with their work to eradicate sex trafficking in the Dominican Republic. We’re excited to introduce the third in a series of update posts, taking you along and behind-the-scenes for a deeper look at how exactly that is being accomplished.
IJM’s team has come alongside local Dominican authorities since late 2013 to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore sex trafficking survivors, and strengthen the justice system so it can protect its most vulnerable children. By the end of May, we have helped rescue 20 victims and restrain eight traffickers and pimps in 2015.
Upon rescue, IJM’s social workers assess the needs of each survivor and develop comprehensive, individualized treatment plans to walk them down the road to restoration. IJM ensures that each young survivor of sex trafficking receives the holistic care needed to deal with the trauma of their exploitation, heal from the abuse, find safety, and learn valuable skills that will help them thrive in freedom. We are working with government social service providers and local NGO partners to provide this care. Our Dominican Republic team is currently serving 50 aftercare participants.
IJM lawyers are also advocating for justice in local courts. Several of our first cases that we took on in 2014 are coming to trial. IJM helps survivors prepare to share the truth in court. Delays are common, and our team advocates for the case to move forward as quickly as possible to ensure that survivors of sex trafficking see justice.
In February, IJM’s team held an Official Inauguration with key stakeholders and partners in Santo Domingo. Over 60 people representing 20 institutions attended the event, including many of our most critical government and NGO partners: the Office of the Attorney General, the National Police, the Child Welfare Agency, and the U.S. and Canadian embassies. While celebrating the launch of IJM’s office, we shared the results of our prevalence study (conducted last summer). We presented our painstaking methodology, which found that the prevalence of sex trafficking of children in the all of areas we measured was 10%, and it was even higher in parks, beaches, and street areas, where the percentage of those prostituted for sex were minors spiked to 23.9% – or nearly one in four girls who were children.
We look forward to sharing more stories of rescue, freedom and hope in the future!
Darling is excited to continuing sharing updates about IJM’s anti-trafficking work in the Dominican Republic. Find out more about our partnership with IJM here, as well as follow their work via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Images provided by IJM