A Fight for Freedom


Liana* was only 14 years old when she was sold for sex by her own mother. Her stepfather was a truck driver and helped her mother run the lucrative sex business. He hauled Liana to men around the country. Every day – often multiple times a day – Liana was raped by customers young and old at hotels, in her home, and in local orange groves. If she refused, her mother threatened to kill her, hitting her and even once grabbing a knife.

The Dominican Republic is a global tropical tourist destination known for its sandy beaches and natural beauty – but it is also a hotspot for traffickers and sex tourists.

Sex trafficking in the country is predominantly street-based. Customers can easily purchase girls and teens by working through buscones – young men who work as pimps and often drive taxis or motorbikes.

Liana’s complex case was referred to IJM’s legal team, who worked with local prosecutors to secure justice. In August of 2016, Liana’s mother was convicted for sex trafficking and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Her long journey to healing has begun, but there are still challenges ahead as her stepfather awaits trial.

Vote to bring safety and protection to girls like Liana.

Additional Resources:

  • To learn more about how IJM combats sex trafficking in the Dominican Republic, view our factsheet

*A pseudonym.

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WE Charity (formerly Free the Children)

Founded in 1995 by international human rights activist Craig Kielburger, WE Charity (formerly known as Free the Children) believes in a world where all young people are free to achieve their fullest potential as agents of change. They are an internatio...