Dominican Today reports that Argentinian police rescued 13 immigrant women from the Dominican Republic and Paraguay who were being held as sex slaves in brothels in a Buenos Aires province. A late night raid this week on six different brothels discovered the women who were being held against their will. According to the police report, sixteen people were arrested and the businesses shut down. The article states that several Argentinian social services agencies have been complaining to the government that there are many foreign women being sexually exploited in the more than 800 brothels located in Buenos Aires.
According to Dr. Martin Patt (“Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery – Dominican Republic”), the Dominican Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Dominican women are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Panama, Slovenia, Suriname, Switzerland, Turkey, and Venezuela. Earlier this year, in “Las esclava sexuales dominicanas” [Dominican Sex Slaves] El Diario/La Prensa (4 January 2010) tracked human trafficking of Dominicans in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, a lucrative business that has been going on for the past 25 years. It is calculated that most women are between the ages of 17 and 24.
Activist Francisca Ferreira of the Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral para la Mujer (COIM) located in New York explains that experts believe that most women know that they are being hired for prostitution; however, many do not expect to be trapped as slaves in a no exit situation. Ferreira stresses that the trade is not common in New York, where the women find other types of work, and that the trafficked women usually tend to go to Spain, Argentina, Holland, Austria, and Italy. Although the Dominican Republic established Law 13703 to punish human trafficking and sexual exploitation, most women are afraid of reporting these crimes. In many cases, part of the strategy is that traffickers know the victims’ families and the women fear for their lives.
For full articles on human trafficking of Dominicans, see http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/world/2010/11/27/37775/Argentina-police-rescue-Dominican-women-held-as-sex-slaves, http://elpoderdemiami.com/2010/10/20/rescatan-a-cuatro-dominicanas-esclavizadas-en-un-prostibulo-de-argentina/, http://elnuevodiario.com.do/app/article.aspx?id=11990, and Dr. Patt’s article at http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/DominicanRepublic.htm
For full article on sexual exploitation and forced labor of Dominican women in Argentina, see http://campus.oimconosur.org/descarga/investigacion/Trata%20de%20mujeres%20dominicanas%20en%20Argentina.pdf