The Myths Sorrounding The Sexual Tourism in The Dominican Republic


Prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic as is the case in most countries in the Americas. In what the Dominican Republic sets itself apart from the rest is while allowing prostitution to be legal, it’s illegal for pimping and the prostitution of children. A Dominican prostitute basically is self-employed and is a way of respecting women, make her feel the rightful owner of herself and not wishing any harm on her for choosing that way of making a living. In addition, she decides who she wants and doesn’t want, the amount of time she devotes to a particular client, she can cancel any contact without warning or explanations, etc. In essence, the dignity of the woman is never put in line for choosing this route. First and foremost is respect towards her as a free human and is her right to do what she pleases as long it doesn’t enfringes on someone else’s rights.

The Dominican Republic has become the most visited country in the Caribbean and one of the most visited in Latin America. Along with the development of tourism came the development of sexual tourism. Furthermore, with that came the creation of myths and exagerations regarding certain aspects of sexual tourism and prostitution. The myths is what is the object of our focus in this article.

Myth 1: Most countries in the Americas prohibit prostitution.

There is a belief that prostitution is prohibited in most countries of the Americas. This is further from the truth. As can be seen in the maps below, prostitution is legally allowed in most countries in the Americas. Countries where the official language is English or French tend to be the exceptions, but that is not the case for countries with Spanish or Portuguese as the official language.

The main reason prostitution is legal in most of these countries is the inability to erradicated. There is the old saying: “prostitution is the oldest profession in the world.” It is mentioned even in the Bible despite it was created over 2,000 years ago. Pictographs of prostitutes are aldo seen on the walls of many villas and building ruins in Pompey, despite the city was alive and kicking before Jesus Christ was born. As such, it is preferable to allow prostitution and simply regulate something that will exist even if it was made illegal.

Zoom in the Americas.

Myth 2: Most tourists to the Dominican Republic are sex tourists.

Some people believe that most tourists to the Dominican Republic are in fact single men looking for paid sex. In reality, most tourists to the Dominican Republic are couples and familie that stay in all inclusive resorts by or close to the beach.

On Dicember of 2021 the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic published the “Encuesta de opinión, actitud y motivación a extranjeros no residentes” which was made by giving an anonymous questionare to non-resident foreigners at the international airports of the Dominican Republic and getting the forms back prior to them boarding the airplanes. One of the options included was “night life” and that option included prostitution. Only 1.4% of tourists picked that option as the main motivator for visiting the Dominican Republic. Regarding specific countries of the tourists that picked the “night life” option; 1.8% were from Puerto Rico, 1.5% from the United States, 0.7% from Canada and 0.4% from Russia.

According to these findings, tourists that visit the Dominican Republic with the main reason partaking as customers of the prostitution industry doesn’t amount greater than 1.5% on average. Without a doubt, a very small minority. In a country that receives over 6 million tourists per year, these amount to roughly 84,000 persons. This is a miniscule amount, but certain places on the internet, which is where it is greatly promoted by third parties the sexusl tourism of the Dominican Republic, they only need two or three content creator to create a distorted and wrong perception of the country.

Source: Encuesta de opinión, actitud y motivación a extranjeros no residentes.
Source: Encuesta de opinión, actitud y motivación a extranjeros no residentes.

Myth 3: Sexual tourists are in large quantities from various countries.

The facade of a business in Sosua.

Another myth that exist regarding sexusl tourism to the Dominican Republic is that sexual tourists are who visit more often the country. The answer to myth 2 completely destroy myth 3.

Furthermore, it is noticeable that sexual tourists are from a handful of countries, overwhelmingly from the United States. This shouldn’t be a surprise since during prohibiton Americans flocked to Latin America to find places they could buy alcohol legally. Once the prohibition of selling alcohol in the United States was lifted, doing tourism in Latin America for the purpose of getting their hands on legal alcohol came to an end. What would happen to sexual tourism in Latin America if prostitution became legal in all of the United States?

Myth 4: Most or a large segment of Dominican women are prostitutes.

An offensive belief for Dominicans and particularly Dominican women is to assume most Dominican women are prostitutes. According to the International Labor Organization of the United Nations, the Dominican Republic has between 25,000 and 35,000 sexual workers. All these people are placed in one large building and it is a lot of people. That is the impression created in the minda of sexual tourists when they see so many women in prostitution, especially in places frequented by these sexusl tourists in Sosua in the north and Boca Chica in the south. Moreover, according to the 2010 census (the most recent), there are 4,706,243 women of all ages in the Dominican Republic, most are adults. In other words, female sexusl workers are not even 1% of all Dominican women.

]It should be noted of a myth that says that Dominican prostitutes amount to 250,000. This figure has been proven wrong and show evidence of its disproportion in “El secretismo del trabajo sexual” by José Francisco Peña Guava.

Myth 5: Prostitution is a shameful activity.

Male prostitution is present on a smaller scale.

For many prostitution is something that produces shame and can be immoral. In reslity, it is a profession like any other. The Bible itself doesn’t prohibits prostitution or prostitutes. With the necessary precautions and above all the respect, this labor activity is like any other in the services sector. In addition, it plays a very important role in society for people that for personal reasons whether is a handicap or disfigurement or some other reason find it nearly impossible to satisfy their sexusl needs. These needs are natural and affects everyone. In fact, the Dominican Republic doesn’t have the problem of random mass shootings as in the United States and if something is recurrent in the mass shooters in the United States is their lack of sexual intimacy. Perhaps if they can channel their energies towards the much deprived sexual encounters, a guy can instead hsve legal paid sex and forget about committing a mass shooting.

The Dominican Republic has several organizations that are constantly making sure the rights of prostitutes are adhered to. Perhaps the most important organization is the Movimiento de Mujeres Unidas (MODEMU). They also advocate in favor of the health of prostitutes, give free training on how to correctly use a condom and what are safe sexual practices, they give for free thousands of condoms, they help regulate the prostitution industry in the country and includes the membership of Dominican and foreign prostitutes that are in that industry in the Dominican Republic.

Myth 6: All sexual workers in the Dominican Republic are Dominicans.

The Dominican Republic has thousands of foreign sexual workers. Most are from Venezuela, Haiti and Colombia. On a smaller scale are Russians and Ukrainians. Despite there is everything among the Dominicans, the sector is greatly diversified with the participation of the foreign prostitutes.

One of the greatest lies is to assume that wll prostitutes in the Dominican Republic are Dominicans. Without a doubt most men and women of all colors and features are Dominicans, but there is also a very large presence of foreign prostitutes. The blacker ones that are demanded much by sexual tourists from the United States, Italy, Spain, etc tend to be Haitians. Perhwps they have such a preference for thrm to vary since in their countries, despite diversity, the most common women are white. There are many Colombians and Venezuelans too and they tend to be more mestizo and white that the average Dominican prostitute, despite there is everything among Dominican sexual workers from whites to blacks and every combination imaginable. Others that are quite numerous within certain circles are Russian and Ukrainians, all of whom are white women and many natural blondes. The country has everything in this respect.

Myth 7: The typical sexual tourist is a sophisticated and highly educated person.

A nightclub in Sosua.

A quick visit to the two major sexual tourism destinations in the Dominican Republic, namely Sosua and Boca Chica, one can notice the type of sexual tourists that frequent the bars, nightclubs, etc. The first thing that jumps is that most are not of the professional types, but rather of working class origin in the United States. Many have characteristics of what in the United States as]re known as “white trash,” a despective term for white Americans with a lesser education and morals. Another aspect that is quickly noticed, this time among African Americans, is that many appear to be from ghettoes and other rough neighborhoods in the United States. Many hardly know how to control themselves, speaking English with many slangs and curse words. In general, the typical African American sexual tourist appears to be younger than their white countrymen, although it isn’t entirely clear how much of this is simply genetics. The darker the black, the more resistent they are to the effects of the sun, over time producing less wrinkles and sagging skin than their white and lighter skin counterpart. As such, dark blacks often conserve much longer their youthful appearance compared to whites given the same lifestyle. These perceptions obvioualy don’t apply to everybody, but they are very much the case on most instances.

Another finding is once one gets to know several sexual tourists. When asked to comment about seversl aspects of the country, its people and culture; it is almost immediate that is obvious they lack a realistic understanding of what is the Dominican Republic and what are Dominicans and the Dominican culture. Many are shocked to learn that in reality most of the country doesn’t doesn’t revolves around sexual tourists and expatriates, in fact most aren’t aware these sexual tourists and expatriates exist. They believe the country is like Sosua, a small town that doesn’t even reaches the level of a city, occupying with less than 1% of the Dominican territory and similarly is home to a very small and insignificant population of Dominicans. They are shocked to learn that the Dominican Republic is actually a conservstive country (not conservative in the USA sense) full of a homely population for whom the family (included the extended family) are the most important in their lives. They are oblivious that the majority of the Dominican population is religious, that the Dominican flag is the only one in the world that has a Bibke in its coat of arms and the great influence the Catholic Church had on the foundation of the country. Very few know what is the merengue típico, that the country has a large middle class living mostly in its cities. Even that Dominicans cone in all races, colors and mixtures; and despite that, all Dominicans are a one people with sharing one cuisine and one culture (unlike other countries where there are cultural differences among the nationals of different races). Many seem oblivious that the Dominican people is a united people regardless of looks.

In essence, many of these sexual tourists arrive at our country and spend a few days, weeks or even months without getting to truly know our people, our traditions and culture, badically our country except what they see in Sosua or Boca Chica. The Dominican Republic they have in their minds and the Dominican Republic as it really is are two different things. For this reason forming an idea of what is the Dominican Republic and how are Dominicans by what sexual tourists think, many of which don’t even speak or understand Spanish which is the language of the Dominicans, you sre bound to get a distorted opinion. Sometimes whst they think of the country can be described simpky as ridiculous.