Sex Tourism In The Dominican Republic

After spending a month sledging, picking, and shoveling away the rubble and debris that still covers Leogane, Haiti my partner and I decided to have a brief vacation in the Dominican Republic. We had come for the relaxing beaches, the old colonial streets where Sir Francis Drake himself had stumbled drunkenly, but most of all for running water and a real bed. Although many other NGO workers in Haiti cross the border into the Dominican Republic, we weren’t the only tourists sipping mojitos. The DR may be known for its white sand beaches, finely made cigars, and top quality rum but many more people visit for the lavish sex vacations that the country has to offer.

Despite the fact that the Dominican Republic is a staunchly Catholic country, sex tourism is a big business and you don’t have to look hard to find it. Sex work is technically legal as long as it is performed independently by legal adults. In practice the law appears to be much more hazy. While 3rd party profit is illegal, it’s very simple to book a sex vacation at an all inclusive resort. A simple search query for sex vacations in the Dominican Republic will bring up numerous results for package deals that include multiple companions, boxes of cigars, and alcoholic beverages delivered continuously to your room. Some resorts will gladly arrange for you greeted at the airport by a personal driver and several women for the drive. Bar and club owners routinely arrange and negotiate trysts for their foreign patrons without police interference. On the other hand, sex workers hustling on the street or in bars are often arrested for loitering or obscene public behavior.

It is estimated that well over 1.5 million people will travel to the Dominican Republic primarily for sex tourism and that number is not limited to heterosexual men. Single females, couples, and LGBTQ tourists can and do have their erotic desires fulfilled in increasing numbers. Although the standard of living in the Dominican Republic is, as a whole, higher than that of its neighbor Haiti it still struggles with poverty, education, and employment opportunities contributing to the complexity and controversy of sex tourism.

[Image by Jens Jäpel from Wiki Creative Commons]

About Miss Maggie Mayhem

Miss Maggie Mayhem has worn many sex positive hats over the years. She has six years of experience as an HIV Prevention Specialist proving testing, counseling, and results disclosure as well as street based outreach for at risk youth. She is also a volunteer at the San Francisco Sex Information Hotline offering education and information to callers from around the world. She is also an erotic performer in San Francisco and loves to meet new people and show them new things. Maggie has also just recently returned from Haiti where she was part of the earthquake recovery and is looking for her next chance to go back and pick up her beloved 16lb sledge hammer once again.

  • Dougiemac

    I wonder how many of these “women” are a product of sex slavery? How many began as children of sex slavery?


    Interesting article. I had no idea about the sex tourism attraction of the DR. It is very hypocritical of the law making/enforcing entities to arrest/hold accountable/punish certain sex professionals and businesses, but not the others. But, it is part of any corrupt and/or developing and under-developed country (…and I say this with a heavy heart). Thank you for sharing this information :)

  • anonymoose

    Interesting post.

  • Will Henry

    None of the women I have met in the DR have been the victims of slavery. Some of the resorts offer women from Eastern Europe, Brazil and etc and to me this does bring up issues of trafficking. But there are so many local women pursuing the proffession that trafficking Latinas would be like bringing coals to Newcastle.