Prostitution is commonly referred to the “world’s oldest profession”. It is
something that undoubtedly does now and has always existed in every corner of
the globe. Prostitutes are depicted on television and in Hollywood films in a
wide range of ways from drug addicted homeless women lurking in the shadows of
urban city streets to high priced escorts who cater to some of the richest men
in the world.|
In many countries including the United States, prostitution is illegal. Despite
this, it is usually not viewed with the same contempt as more “serious crimes”.
Instead, most view it as more of a morality issue, a “vice” or a social evil
that because of human nature, can never be completely extinguished but should be
kept as far out of public view as possible. Each specific country and their
people have their own respective view of prostitution and the Dominican Republic
is no exception. In this article, we will examine prostitution in the Dominican
Republic and everything that relates to it in some detail.
The prostitution rate per capita in the Dominican Republic is considered very
high. Additionally, the Dominican Republic is statistically the 4th largest
exporter of prostitutes in the world behind Brazil, Thailand and the
Philippines. So why are the rates so high? Why are so many Dominican women
prostitutes? Well, we can probably point to a number of social factors to answer
First and foremost, the Dominican Republic suffers from a very high poverty
rate. Over 25% of the Dominican population is said to be living below the
poverty line. Educational standards are very low and the majority of people
living in the campo (countryside) stop attending school at a young age. The
adult literacy rate is a low 87.8 percent. For most, there is little or no
opportunity. Unemployment is at a staggering 17% and many, who do have jobs,
work for very low pay. There is also a very high rate of teenage pregnancy and
fatherless families are extremely common. It is not surprising with so little
opportunity and so little hope of future opportunity that many Dominican women
turn to prostitution.
How do Dominican Women go about being prostitutes?
Well, the common misconception is that the majority of Dominican prostitutes
works in tourist areas and caters to tourists, when in fact this is not the
case. A percentage does but the majority of Dominican prostitutes’ clients are
Dominican men. The men visit brothels and massage parlors that litter the
country and are filled with Dominican women. Sometimes, like immediately before
Christmas, you will find more girls than normal working in these establishments
in an effort to earn some quick money for the holidays. They will then go back
to their normal lives.
Activity such as this has been going on in the Dominican Republic long before
the country became a tourist attraction. However there are a couple of tourist
destinations in the country which have become infamous for their prostitution.
The main two are Boca Chica on the south coast and Sosua on the north coast.
Several months before this article was written, there was an initiative to
cleanse Boca Chica of its rampant prostitution problem. The result was that many
of the prostitutes that worked in Boca Chica relocated to Sosua; however, Boca
Chica still retains its ill repute.
Both of these locations lie along the coast and are tourist attractions, so the
common daytime scenes surround beach activities, peddlers selling all kinds of
trinkets to tourists, bars and restaurants. Mixed into the scenery are plenty of
Dominican women working as prostitutes. In the daytime, this might not be
overtly apparent; however any male tourist looking to pay for sex will quickly
find what he is looking for.
At nighttime, the scene changes and the discos and bars fill up with Dominican
women with the vast majority of them looking to be picked up by a tourist for a
night of paid sex. Additionally there are usually various strip clubs and
massage parlors in these areas. The strip clubs allow you to take a working girl
out if you pay the club a “salida’ or an exit fee. The client is then free to
negotiate with the girl on how much a night of sex will cost. The massage
parlors give the outward impression that they simply provide massages. However,
once the male gets inside, the girl providing the massage usually offers sexual
favors in exchange for money. The sex act would then generally take place right
there in the massage room.
Bringing a girl back to his hotel is usually not a problem for a tourist as most
hotels allow guests. The hotels policy generally is to make sure the girl has a
“cedula”. This is the national identity document that states that the girl is
over 18 years of age. It is common practice for the hotel to take the cedula and
return it to the girl when she leaves. This way, if there is any problem while
the girl is there such as an allegation that valuables are missing, the hotel
can take the girl’s cedula and go directly to the police.