Cattleya is the name by which the Public Ministry calls the simultaneous operation that it carried out this Thursday in dozens of establishments in the National District and Bávaro, in the province of La Altagracia, in which it rescued more than 80 women, between 18 and 23 years old. , from South America, victims of sexual exploitation
The Attorney General’s Office reported that the raids were the product of an investigation that began nine months ago.
The General Directorate of Persecution of the Public Ministry and the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office against Illicit Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons (PETT) announced that the prosecutors will file criminal charges against 10 accused Venezuelans, Colombians and Dominicans.
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.
“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 Caribe Hotel, in the National District, and at the Coco Real Residential Complex, in Bávaro, Punta Cana, La Altagracia province,” states a statement from the Attorney General’s Office.
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 participated in the operation. During the operations, the teams seized controlled substances, such as marijuana and synthetic drugs.
He said that the operation has the support of the Special Division for the Investigation of Transnational Crimes (Deidet) and the Human Trafficking Department of the National Police. Also with the international cooperation of the Office of National Security Investigations (HSI), of the United States, 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).
“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, at least 14 people are being investigated for committing the crime of trafficking, including those from Colombia and six from Venezuela.
How did it work?
According to the Attorney General’s Office, criminal networks mobilized young women with the promise of a well-paid job in the Dominican Republic. But they exploited them sexually. 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, forced them to use controlled substances, and subjected them to humiliating and inhumane treatment.
DR not in compliance
A report presented by the United States Department of State last July indicates that the Government of the Dominican Republic does not meet the minimum standards to end human trafficking, however, it recognizes that the country’s authorities are making efforts to achieve it.
Despite this effort mentioned in the report and the increase in actions to prevent, protect and prosecute this crime, the country remains in category 2 because the Government “did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas”.