- My age:
Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the U. Adult prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic. But it is illegal to force, deceive or coerce any adult or child into sexual exploitation - also known as human trafficking - and the crime carries a prison sentence of up to 30 years. In recent years, the government has stepped up efforts to prosecute tourists and Dominicans for child sex exploitation. But convictions remain low.
But Odalis adds one more wish: that her four children will never be drawn into the industry that has sustained them. Montero, a former sex worker, now spends her days fighting for the rights of sex workers in the Dominican Republic.
One day in late spring, she was dressed casually in leggings and a fitted T-shirt. When she leaves for work, she locks her year-old son in his room until her return.
While sex work is most prevalent in large cities and tourist areas, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins and COIN, many sex workers like Odalis have local clients. About the project.
But she keeps selling her body, mostly on weekends, she said, so she can feed her children. Odalis has a youthful face and a girlish physique. The organization, which is dedicated to promoting the human rights of commercial sex workers, educates prostitutes on how to limit their exposure to AIDS and offers support for those hoping to transition out of the sex trade.
But as the country's republic as a tourist destination grows, so does its sex tourism, according to the U. The Center for Integral Orientation and Investigation, a non-governmental organization for sexual and reproductive health in the Dominican Republic, estimates there are almostsex workers in this country of 10 million. It is made up of current sex workers, like Odalis, and former ones, like Montero.
Her voice was calm, her face expressionless, as prostitutes recounted how the man proceeded to attack her physically and sexually, again and again. She also has been asked to speak at conferences and meetings in the U. The Cronkite School has been covering immigration and border issues dominican with the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
Meanwhile, Odalis continues to meet her three johns on the weekends. There is no law that explicitly prohibits or legalizes prostitution in the Dominican Republic, a country that has developed lavish resorts along its beautiful beaches.
Montero has turned her life around.