Santo Domingo Justice Ministry Rescues Victims of Child Traffickers

The Justice Ministry of Santo Domingo released information police, child humanitarian authorities, and representatives from Justice Ministry removed hundreds of trafficked Haitian and Dominican children off the streets where they had been forced to beg. Many of the children were too confused to give rescuers their families' whereabouts. In all 302 underage children were collected, some of them from tourist spots.


Of the total figure of abducted children, 58 of them were Haitian. National Childhood Council spokesman, Alberto Padilla, said Santo Domingo officials have been talking to Haitian officials to try and get the children reunified with their families. In the meantime, the children have been housed in shelters in Santo Domingo, Jarabacoa, and Santiago.

Padilla says the Haitian children have undergone traumatic events. Traffickers abduct the children from poor homes, hustle them across the border, and coerce them to beg in some of the worst areas of the city. At evening's end the children are further subjected to cruel circumstances, made to sleep in filthy encampments. And they may only get one meal a day.

Special Prosecutor of the Justice Ministry, Jonathan Baro, has been aggressive in tracking down child traffickers. So far he has indicted 11 Haitians and three Dominicans in the last three years. Out of that number, he has gotten four convictions and sentences ranging from two to 15 years. Santo Domingo Justice Minister, Francisco Dominguez, has pledged to put traffickers--of Haitian children especially--behind bars.

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