Haiti-Dominican Republic frontier: a pass for trafficking foreigners to different places
Much is said about the high rate of Haitian immigration to Dominican territory by way of the frontier. But, what of the traffic of other foreigners that come into the country by Haiti, to use the territory as a bridge towards the United States or for other things?
Cuban, Chinese and Colombian nationals head the list of 256 persons of 21 nationalities-without including the Haitians-which over the last eight years the Cesfront and the Army of the Dominican Republic have detained getting around the six formal frontier posts along the 391 kilometers of the frontier. They did this by evading the vigilance of some 1,070 men and women that watched it or by bribing those that lend themselves to corrupt practices with between RD$3,000 and RD$7,000.
In 2013 a Dominican was sent to trial after being arrested at the frontier post in Dajabon-Ouanaminthe, after he offered money to members of the Specialized Corps of Frontier Security (Cesfront) last 26 March in order to allow him to cross three Chinese nationals. These Asians are part of the human trafficking from China that for decades has been seen in the country and attributed to a mafia.
“The Cubans have a special situation and it is that they look a lot like Dominicans; the majority try to pass themselves as Dominicans. The Chinese nearly always try to conceal themselves in a container, going by sea, the coast, in order to arrive, for example in Puerto Plata, where they go unnoticed because there are more Chinese there,” explains the Cesfront director, Brigadier General Santo Domingo Guerrero Clase.
Just Cubans numbered 98 persons detained according to reports to Diario Libre by Cesfront and the Army, over the past eight years and 62 Chinese. In the case of the Colombians which numbered 59, the activities of drug trafficking or money laundering are some of the reasons for their entry into the Dominican Republic, explains the Cesfront commander. The Cubans do it mostly to reach the United States, and the Chinese are the same, although the latter go to do forced work.
These nationalities also are among those that have the highest rate of deportations in the last nine years. From a group of 1,106 persons from more than 70 countries, deported by the Directorate General of Migration between 2004 and 2013, there were 238 Cubans, 71 Colombians and 55 Chinese.
Most expensive: Middle East
The detained Haitians are more than the other nationalities. Only between 2011 and 15 March 2014, the Cesfront reports that they stopped 145,507 from the neighboring country that attempted to cross the frontier. Nevertheless, the 256 persons from other countries from other countries over the past eight years, although it is a smaller number, are added to the human trafficking that profits the go-between persons or “coyotes.”
There are six formal frontier posts to enter the Dominican Republic from Haiti: Dajabon, Jimani, Pedernales, Comendador, Cañada Miguel, and Sabana Cruz, the last three in Elias Piña.
The commander of Cesfront explains that those in Dajabon and Elias Piña are the ones most used for illegal entry by foreigners, who take advantage of the Mondays and Fridays, the days of the bi-national markets, in order to lose themselves among the mob of sellers and buyers. In addition, since these are the most economically active, the communication and transportation routes are more organized, facilitating the transportation of the persons being trafficked.
According to what was told to the Diario Libre, the traffickers (also called “potea”) are well known in the towns along the frontier. Moreover, they are found by the profile they project of having money that is not in accord with their position. And it is that, for example, trafficking with nationals from the Middle East (Lebanon, Pakistan, Egypt, etc) is the most costly. Each foreigner can involve between US$13,000 and US$16,000 to cross them over and possible to legalize their status in the Dominican Republic through the use of influence.
Last 4 March the Central Electoral Board filed a complaint before the District Attorney of the National District against four Egyptians accused of falsifying identity documents for which they charged US$7,500.
In 2013 they subpoenaed 50 persons for violation of Law 137-03 on human trafficking and trade, of which 14 cases are under investigation. The information of convictions and other accusations in former years are dispersed and it was not possible to obtain them.
A young Chinese girl costs US$18,000
A Chinese man living in the Dominican Republic paid US$18,000 to bring in a Chinese girl to use her in his “pica pollo” business in Veron, Higüey. The person he contacted organized a route that included the victim of human trafficking to travel legally from China to Holland, from Holland to Cuba, and from Cuba to Haiti. Upon her arrival in Haiti, the young girl no longer had any legal documents. She passed through the frontier in an irregular manner on a minibus, to arrive in July 2013 at her destination.
The investigations by the courts indicate that the foreigner, identified by the Chinese community as Nai Ling Wu, arrived at the “pica pollo” and the working conditions that awaited her included a 16 hour day, seven days a week and no holidays.
The head of the Specialized Prosecutor for Illicit Trafficking of Immigrants and Persons, Jonathan Baro, explained that the business owners of the Chinese community that use the networks of human trafficking to bring in “hard-working” employees, explain to their worker that for at least three years they will work without pay in order to repay the investment that it took to bring them into the country. Based on this agreement–Baro explained-it is more profitable to pay this than to hire a worker who is legally in the Dominican Republic.
This method of operation was revealed with the case of Ling Wu, after she was rescued two months after arriving in the country. “The girl did not know how to work. A man at the “pica pollo” saw when one of the employees beat her, he complained, the District Attorney entered and they realized that she was going to lose her legs because they beat her with pipes,” said Baro. The victim of human trafficking-he added-was interned in a clinic to treat burns made by candles.
The young girl is in a halfway house where she is not permitted to speak to the press. The business owner who paid for her is a fugitive and they have arrested the co-owner of the business and three Chinese more. For the 27 March there is a hearing to look at the evidence.
“Under conditions not only of abuse, but also of labor exploitation, are many of the Chinese citizens that enter the country illegally through the frontier,” said the prosecutor Baro.
The “mysterious” African
In the archives of the Army and of the Cesfront, it is noted that between 2007 and 2014 there were four Africans arrested for trying to enter by the frontier: two from Nigeria (2010 and 2013) and two from Cameroon (2014).
Diario Libre tried for weeks to interview the director of Immigration for this report, but is was fruitless. In spite of the fact that the reporters were denied permission to visit the Detention Center in Haina (where they take foreigners being processed for repatriation), the team from the newspaper was outside the place in order to get information with regard to an African that is detained there.
The neighbors of the Haina Vacation Center, where the Detention Center is located, know him as “Billy Black.” They say that he is a Nigerian and that on occasions he leaves the place. The official information indicated that “an African” has been reluctant to be sent to his country. On the other hand, the neighbors say that the cost of an airfare has been the obstacle for his deportation.
Category: DR News |