Prostitution in the Dominican Republic

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Prostitution in the Dominican Republic is legal, but related activities such as brothel-keeping or pimping are illegal.[1][2] However, prostitution laws are generally not enforced.[1][2][3] It is estimated between 60,000 and 100,000 women work as prostitutes in the country,[4] many from neighbouring Haiti.[4]

Sex Tourism[edit]

The Dominican Republic has gained a reputation of being a major destination for international sex tourism,[2][5] although the activity is mostly concentrated in poor coastal towns (especially Las Terrenas, Cabarete, Sosua, and Boca Chica), where women have less economic opportunities than in larger towns and cities of the country.[1][6] Haitian immigrants also take part in the sex tourism business, with many of the prostitutes in some areas being of Haitian descent.[7][8] At sex tourism sites the lighter Dominicans are favored over darker Haitians,[9] who are forced to work in the streets or local bars rather than the more lucrative up-scale areas.[9] Child sex tourism is a problem in the country.[10]

Underage Prostitution[edit]

Underage prostitution is a problem, particularly in some urban areas within coastal towns,[11][12] but there has been a decrease in child prostitution since 2001, with the increase in policing and the decrease in corruption.[13][14] The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has started prosecuting individuals who are engaging in child prostitution.[15] A 2015 study by the International Justice Mission found a quarter of sex workers working on the streets, in parks and on beaches were under 18 years old.[10]


The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Dominican Republic is estimated to be 0.7 percent, which is relatively low by Caribbean standards. However, the percentage among sex workers is estimated to be much higher, ranging from 2.5% to 12.4%, depending on the locale.[16]

Sex Trafficking[edit]

According to the US Department of State, the Dominican Republic is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking.[17] Women and children from neighbouring Haiti, the rest of the Caribbean, Asia, and South America are trafficked into the country for Forced prostitution.[17] Colombian and Venezuelan women who had been brought into the country to dance in strip clubs are forced to work in prostitution.

Dominican women and children are subjected to sex trafficking within the country, neighbouring Haiti, the rest of the Caribbean, Europe, South and Central America, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.[17]

After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, many Dominican prostitutes crossed over the border into Haiti, searching out clients amongst the aid workers and UN personnel.[18] Dominican women are paid a premium because of their lighter skin.[18]

The United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons ranks the Dominican Republic as a 'Tier 2' country.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "100 Countries and Their Prostitution Policies". Procon. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "The Legal Status of Prostitution by Country". Chartsbin. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  3. ^ "2009 Human Rights Report: Dominican Republic". 11 March 2010. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Popular Caribbean Sex Tourism Destinations". News America. 27 May 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  5. ^ Jennings, Kathleen M.; Nikolić-Ristanović, Vesna (September 2009). "UN Peacekeeping Economies and Local Sex Industries: Connections and Implications" (PDF). MicroCon. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 August 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  6. ^ "2008 Human Rights Report: Dominican Republic". Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  7. ^ Gerardo Reyes (24 October 2010). "Sex tourism thrives on Dominican streets with Haitian girls". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Latin American Herald Tribune - Dominican Republic Deports 163 Haitians". Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  9. ^ a b McCabe, Kimberly Ann; Manian, Sabita (12 April 2010). Sex Trafficking: A Global Perspective. p. 124. ISBN 9780739147283. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  10. ^ a b Moloney, Anastasia (16 June 2017). "Child sex tourists do 'dirty business' with impunity in Dominican Republic". Reuters. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Sex, tourism and HIV. A hazardous association in the Dominican Republic". NLM Gateway. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Sex Tourism in Latin America". Harvard University. Archived from the original on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Situation of minors in the dominican republic". Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
  14. ^ "Child Sex Tourism in the Dominican Republic" (PDF). ECPAT. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 September 2008. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  15. ^ "USVI predator pleads guilty to sex tourism charges following ICE investigation". U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  16. ^ Cohen, Jon (28 July 2006). "The Sun. The Sand. The Sex". Science. 313 (5786): 474. doi:10.1126/science.313.5786.474. PMID 16873643.
  17. ^ a b c "Trafficking in Persons Report 2017" (PDF). US Department of State. 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  18. ^ a b Carmon, Irin (8 February 2010). "Dominican Prostitutes In Haiti: Prized For Their Light Skin, Patronized By Peacekeepers". Jezebel. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Dominican Republic 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 27 July 2018.