When Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst went to the Dominican Republic as part of a Social Justice tour led by Kevin Lamastra of Friends Beyond Borders, she was looking for a deeper understanding of the immigration issues here in the United States following joining in the protest of SB1070 in Arizona on July 29, 2010. In this post, she shares some of her experiences- Ed.
The first city we visited in the Dominican Republic was Sosua, a place of beautiful Caribbean beaches and coral reefs. The coastline is a string of gorgeous resorts and upscale condominiums looking out on that ocean view. But behind those towers of luxury, the city shows a very different face. Sosua was introduced as the epicenter of the international sex trade. Prostitution is legal and one of the few sources of income. Young women and girls, dressed to seduce, roam the streets and bars looking for foreign men. Male prostitutes look for women and hope to create relationships that might bring money later from long distance relationships begun on vacation. Although a legal way to earn a living, prostitution results in sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies, and the risk of abuse and loss of dignity that comes when our bodies are objectified and used.