Local January 23, 2015 | 7:45 am

Haitians look to Dominican Republic as Port-au-Prince crisis festers

Dajabón, Dominican Republic .- Many Haitians mull different ways to cross the border into Dominican territory as Haiti’s social and political crisis festers, local media report Thursday quoting representatives of human rights organizations, merchants and authorities.

Dominican Republic’s Army last week announced "Operation Shield" to heighten surveillance, with dozens of additional soldiers sent to the border with Haiti.

The Dominican Army reportedly detained 13,300 undocumented Haitians during the eight days after the operation was enacted.

Religious organizations and human rights groups denounced Thursday that people who engage in trafficking of Haitians from the Caribbean country scam compatriots desperate to flee the situation in their country.

"They charge large sums of money, and assure them that by illegally immigrating into Dominican Republic, will allow them to progress and get one step closer to reaching US territory of Puerto Rico," said Haitian Catholic activist Jensen Baptiste, quoted by local media.

He stressed that Dominican authorities are on the alert along the entire border.

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