The General Directorate of Persecution of the Public Ministry and the Specialized Prosecutor against Illicit Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons (PETT) reported that they will request 18 months of preventive detention for the 10 members of the transnational network dedicated to trafficking in persons under the modality of commercial sexual exploitation, from which more than 80 women were rescued.
The Public Ministry, which this morning was working on the request for the coercive measure, consisting of preventive detention, which must be presented within the 48 hours established by the procedural regulations, will ask the Permanent Attention Court of the National District to declare the complex case .
Among the defendants are Venezuelans, Colombians and Dominicans.
The operation had the support of the Special Division for the Investigation of Transnational Crimes (Deidet) and the Trafficking in Persons Department of the National Police. Also, with the international cooperation of the United States Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
In addition, the NGOs Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), Destiny Rescue and the Anti Trafficking Bureau (ATB).
Johanna Bejarán Álvarez, head of the PETT, explained that the actions against human trafficking respond to the actions promoted by the Attorney General Miriam Germán Brito against transnational crime.
Bejarán Álvarez indicated that 25 prosecutors, more than 200 agents of the National Police and more than 50 investigation technicians and specialists in victim assistance participate in the operation. During the operations, the teams seized controlled substances, such as marijuana and synthetic drugs.
“We must thank the cooperation of other countries in this operation, especially that of the United States, a nation that in its report this year on human trafficking recognizes that, although we must overcome limitations, the authorities of the Dominican Republic make sustained efforts to fight against crimes such as trafficking and sex trafficking,” said Bejarán Álvarez.
As part of the Cattleya operation, the Public Ministry is investigating at least 14 people for committing the crime of trafficking, including two from Colombia and six from Venezuela.
The defendants created a transnational criminal organization dedicated to capturing women between 18 and 23 years of age, in different countries, specifically from Colombia and Venezuela, for the commission of the illicit trafficking of persons under the modality of commercial sexual exploitation. The young women were held at the Hotel Caribe, in the National District, and at the Residencial Coco Real, in Bávaro, Punta Cana, La Altagracia province.
Criminal networks mobilized young women with the promise of a well-paid job in the Dominican Republic. However, they were sexually exploited.
In the Bávaro area, they offered the sexual services of the victims at a cost of 100 to 150 dollars for one hour and up to 400 dollars per night.
Once brought to the country, the victims were forced to admit that they owed between US$3,000 and US$4,000 in debt to the networks that mobilized them and forced them to consume controlled substances.
Exploitation and threats
According to the Public Ministry, the women were victims of threats and subjected to a state of slavery and many were held as slaves and threatened with deportation and harm to their families, they were also kept drugged and psychologically terrified.