Avoiding the Sex Industry in the Dominican Republic

The sex industry is alive and well in the Dominican Republic, with a prostitution rate per capita as one of the highest in the world.


Travelers will see legal brothels, massage parlours and prostitutes in many of the downtown areas such as the Puerto Plata province and Santo Domingo.

The Dominican Republic also ranks fourth highest in the world among countries exporting large numbers of sex workers.

Poverty and Prostitution in the Dominican Republic

The issue can be explained by the country's high poverty rate. A quarter of the population lives below the bread line, which makes many women turn to sex work to put food on the table.

If you're traveling to the country around the Christmas holidays, you'll probably see a large number of girls working to make money to buy gifts. Male prostitutes are also common and contribute to the country's high rate of HIV and AIDS infection.

The south coast's Boca Chica and the north coast's Sosua are the two big areas for prostitution. These locations typically look like your average tourist locales during the day. At night, the prostitutes are easy to find, with many sex workers mixing into bars and clubs and appearing like everyday Dominican women. Many are looking precisely for relatively well-off travelers.

Tender Traps in the Dominican Republic

Males are also able to go to strip clubs and pay an 'exit fee' to the establishment to take a prostitute back to their hotels or resorts. But watch out, it's not uncommon for girls to rob their clients. Others may pickpocket men on the street.

Some of the sex workers start up long-distance relationships after the tourists return home. Of course, the women are trying to get these men to send them money, and most likely have a stable of similar suitors wiring them cash from various locations while they continue working the streets of the D.R.

Hassling and Haggling in the Dominican Republic

Regardless of your opinions on the practice of prostitution, if you're a man out without a woman, you'll get harassed to buy the services of a lady in certain parts of town.

If you're a woman, be prepared to see hustlers haggling and prostitutes persuading. Many travelers do, in fact, go to the D.R. to enjoy paid sex, so many prostitutes and hustlers figure any tourist can be easily convinced to do the same. A male traveler said he traveled solo to the D.R. in his mid-20s and didn't feel completely out of harm's way. He was harassed constantly at night by hustlers and prostitutes who went so far as to grope him to entice him to seek their services.

If approached by a prostitute, saying "No" firmly and walking away should suffice.

Anyone who does decide to seek out this side of the country should know the age of consent is 18, and those found to have sex with minors can face punishment in the D.R. and their home country.

Travelers posting in Lonely Planet forums said females, particularly those traveling alone, should expect Dominican men to be aggressive in their pick-up approach. One person recommended acting tough and being firm in your "No" response. Women should be prepared for this type of behaviour especially in local bars and nightclubs outside the resort areas.

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  • Lex said

    There's a fine line between being firm and "acting tough". Third world countries aren't the West. If you act tough you may have to back it up.

  • Linda Stapleton said

    I have lived in the DR for 16 years, in the Sosua area, and can confirm that this is all very sound advice.

  • El Moreno USA said

    Five years ago, I moved from Washington DC to Santo Domingo and lived there until last year when I moved back to the USA. I can confirm that the information given here is exactly correct.

    There were times when I had to run from women attacking me and trying to get me to sleep with them for money.

  • Charles said

    That's the opinion I want, people that have lived there, or at least been there.

  • Trav said

    I was in santo domingo for 6 days i can confirm everything is here is not only true but i would say worse than said here! Very sad situation for woman there it is like 90% or more of the woman are prostitutes or want money for sex which is the same thing! Very sad culture there!

  • David said

    I am American and met my Dominican wife in the USA 20 years ago, that said we travel back and forth to the Dom Rep frequently for vacations and we tend to stay at non all inclusive hotels in different parts of the islands.

    Not once have we had a problem, but yes there is prostitution and if you don’t belong in a certain establishment or area then don’t go, if you go into a club expect to play the game, just like in the USA

    There are areas in the USA you don’t go to so you use your smarts as in don’t flash your money, credit cards, jewelry etc

  • Ric said

    Wow!..Really? Sex for money? OMG...you'd never see that in say California or Florida or New York or Vegas......Well many a little. But most women in the US are not interested in what you do or how much you make before committing to a relationship......Right!......Women here don't care if your a janitor or a doctor....its about love...LOL...I love it. The fact is that generally, unless self sustaining, independent and educated, women are the same everywhere.....to the DR 's credit, their women make it clear what they want and what they are willing to do for it. Here, does it cost you anything for sex? I've heard it a thousand times..."I would never pay for sex"...Well take an inventory my friend.....lets see.....a house for oh a bout $200K trips to places you would never go,,,,,hmmmm oh about $150K over a lifetime. Children she wanted...egags.....with lessons, sports, clothes, college etc....lets say two kids over 20 years for a total of about $500K....I think that comes out to ohhhh...lets call it an even Mill. Now, if your married for 25 years.....and had sex every night of every day.....that would be 9,125 times....lets say an even 10,000. So that is approx. $100 per encounter......bet its cheaper in DR

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