Local March 17, 2015 | 5:51 pm

Dominican Republic, US bust sex-trafficking ring, rescue 20 minors

Sosua, Dominican Republic.- The US Embassy on Tuesday said 29 sex trafficking victims, including 20 minors ages 14 to 17 were rescued in Sosua, after an investigation and joint operation between local and US agencies.

It said the ??underage victims were sent to the facility of the National Children Council (CONANI), which collaborated in the case.

In a statement the US Embassy said agents of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE / HSI), the National Police, the Justice Ministry’s Anti-trafficking Unit and the Puerto Plata Office of the Prosecutor took part in the operation.

As part of the investigation seven Dominican citizens were arrested, two women and five men, who were sent to one year in prison to await trial.

The suspected traffickers transported the victims to what these believed was a "sex party" and also coordinated the sexual services by the minors for the adults who participated in the alleged party.

US Ambassador James W. Brewster congratulated the Dominican government and the US security agencies for their commitment to eradicate sexual exploitation and thanked them for cooperating in this case. "It’s inconceivable that people, including children, are being sold for sex in the 21st century. The Government of the United States continues to work with our partners both domestically and abroad to eliminate this evil practice."

The detainees were identified as Rubén Darío Sosa, Luis Manuel Martínez Castillo, Franklin Sánchez García, Rolfi Ismael Ventura, Manuel Emilio Martinez, Idalia Luciano and Aniberca Castro.

The Puerto Plata Office of the Prosecutor is in charge of the case against the Dominican citizens whom, if convicted, could face up to 15 years in prison.

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