Surveys 1-4 were done on Saturday, October 10th, 2009. Survey 5 was done on Thursday, October 15th, 2009. SURVEY ONE Streets of Puerta Plata Six street workers were interviewed on the streets of Puerta Plata, next to the beach. Three were children and three were adults. The first two boys to be interviewed, both 14, Haitian and brothers, were interviewed at Dave´s Bar and Grill. The two brothers, who live in Padre Grenero, are both orphans who were brought over the Haiti-Dominican Republic border by around eight people. They live alone but there are other people in the house. The boys have a jefe that checks on them weekly. The boys earn about fifty pesos a day, in which they pay their older brother. Their older brother, in turn, pays the wages of the brothers to the jefe. Failure to pay the wages results in not being fed. Both boys know of other boys in the same situation, and also have had their family and other boys threatened, beaten. Both boys have their birth papers but do not go to school. When asked what they would like to do, both stated that attending school was what they desired. When asked if they could leave the job if they wished, both replied affirmatively. The boys do not know of any domestic workers. (When it was apparent that the interview was being overheard by two Dominican women, the interview location was moved down the street to an open-air resturant next to the beach) At the new location, another boy was interviewed. The Haitian, aged 12, lives in Agua Negra with his aunt. He shines shoes and has a boss. When asked if he could change jobs, he replied affirmatively. He does not go to school, nor has he ever. He does not have an ID card, came here on a ´big´ bus, and reported that his boss has not threatened him. One man, Haiti-born and 34, is a street worker who currently lives in Puerta Plata. He sells paintings that he buys from other people. In Haiti, he went to school until age 21 when he graduated from University.. He does not have a boss, and came to the DR voluntarily with a business partner. He has his ID card. Some days he makes money, while other days are not profitable. Because of his proximity to and frequent encounters with the street children, he is a trusted source of information for PATH. When inquired about domestic slaves, he mentioned that he did not know of any.. He does, however, know of an estimated fifty children that work the streets of Puerta Plata. He mentioned that he knows that some people will buy the children and bring them to Puerta Plata to work. At this interval in the interview, Father Dale Johnson recounts a story that this same man had told him regarding an abduction of a young Haitian girl. The twelve year-old was abducted from the street, had her hands bound by rope and her mouth duct taped. The police were soon notified, but yelled at the girl rather than putting their attention on the kidnappers. Another Dominican man, aged 55, sells mahogany boxes to tourists. He does not have a boss, went to school in the past and now sells mahogany boxes. He stated that each day varies- some days are more profitable than others, earning upwards of $1,000 RD pesos. He also watches out for the street kids. When asked if the boys are ever beaten by their jefes, he replied affirmatively and indicated towards his body. One time he had tried to help the boys out and got beat as well. The jefes are usually mad because the kids have not earned their goal money for the day. He stated that POLITUR, the Dominican police for tourists, have been known to arrest the street kid workers. The last of the men to be questioned at this location was a 48-year-old Dominican man, physically-disabled and gets around on crutches.. He makes his living by begging on the streets for about three to four hours a day. He knows of three kids in particular that are domestic workers, children ranging from ages 5 to 12. They clean clothes and plates, as well as cook dinner. They work during the day, go to school at night and live with their parents. The wages they earn from working at the houses goes to their parents. SURVEY TWO Jewelry store one block down from the beach-side resturant The owner of a business store, estimated age to be 38, was a former street kid. In telling about his life, he mentioned that his family had made him attend school at nighttime after working the streets during the day. He has quite a few engineers in his large family. As far as his jewelry business is concerned, he serves a dual purpose- to keep the kids off of his doorstep where they could hinder business, but also to teach them about jewelry. In talking about POLITUR, he continued from what the previous man had said about child street kids being arrested. He further clarified saying that POLITUR´s job is to protect the tourists from robberies and rip-offs in which the street kids are sometimes accused of. SURVEY THREE Cofrantine, in front of the club Tipico Puerta Plata In this survey, two separate groups were questioned. The first group was a group of local streetworkers and the second, a couple of adults. Of the four street kids that were interviewed, three were Dominican and one was Haitian. Their ages were 12, 13, 14 and 16. Two were brothers, and all four live in Javillar. All are shoe shiners earning 10 pesos per shoe. During this interview, there were four men watching the questioning. None of the boys have a boss. One goes to school at La Cortatella, two do not, and one previously did. When asked, two of the boys said they could leave their job if the wanted. The other two were not asked this question. Three of the four boys have been working for a year, the fourth was not asked this question. The sixteen-year-old gives his money to his mom.. On a good day, he makes upwards of 200 pesos a day. None of the boys know of any domestic workers. All stated that none suffer abuse if they do not make wages from the day´s work. Also, they stated that they only know of each other that work the streets in shining shoes. Of the two that were asked, only the sixteen-year-old has his birth papers, while the twelve-year old does not. The fourteen year-old was asked if he had his ID card in which he replied negatively. Neither he nor the thirteen year-old were asked about their birth papers. Of the two boys that have been in school, both have been in school for at least four years, with the fourteen year-old in school for half a year longer. The second survey done in this same location involved a Dominican male, 30 years old; and a Dominican female, 40 and a worker in the snack area across from Tipico Puerta Plata. The two were interviewed about Tipico Puerta Plata and of what occurs there at nighttime. The man said that this place has been there for about four years, and is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The hours of operation are 6am to 2am. The man also stated that the owner of Tipico Puerta Plata is a male, aged 50. He also mentioned three women who are regular workers there, and have a boss that they pay. He mentioned that the jefe gets 10,000 pesos for the women but whether it was the jefe of the three women, or the owner is uncertain; as well as the fact that whether is was the wages of the three women or all the women working there. He also informed that the women do not life with their jefe, but rather, inside their own houses. He also stated that the no girls are sold there. If the women do not make their wages for the night, they suffer abuse such as being punched in the face. The women are ages ranging from twenty to thirty. When asked about another business similar to Tipico Puerta Plata, the man wrote down on the interview sheet, a place called Cubacana. The woman affirmed the same things that the man has said, occasionally inserting information aobut the place when the man did not know and had questioned her. When interviewed, she had this to add: thirteen women work at this place, but ten are voluntary workers. The other three women have a boss. When inquired, the woman informed that if the men want sex with the women, then they go to another location to do so. FOURTH SURVEY Super Cabana Hollywood When walking into Super Cabana Hollywood, this interviewer saw two adult females on the left side of the building next to a bowl of free condoms. A male around the ages of 25-35 was briefly questioned about the cabanas. He stated that both poor and rich men come here. They pay prices ranging from $320 to $400 Dominican pesos, depending on the styles of the room. Each room is available in four hour slots. At the time the interview was done, three cabanas out of twenty five were counted to have cars in the garages. When asked, the men said that the women that come here are either prostitutes, a girlfriend or the wife of the men. Father Dale Johnson also inserted a tidbit of information about the cabanas: He mentioned that the former president of the Dominican Republic, from the White Partido had created forty cabanas with money given from the Chinese government. FIFTH SURVEY A side street from Calle Avenida Sadhala Santiago, Dominican Republic Three street kids were interviewed. There was one Haitian and two Dominicans. The Haitian does not have a boss and lives in Santiago with his mother, with whom he crosses the Haitian- Dominican border with at age 11. He does not have a ID card but has birth papers back in Haiti. He occasionally goes to school, and can make 300 pesos on a good day. He workes all day, and later, gives his money to his mother. He does not know any domestic workers nor of any trafficked victims. He would like to be a car mechanic. The two Dominican boys, ages 11 and 13 are also shoe shiners. The two have a lot in common- they both live in Santiago, do not know any street kids with jefes, go to school, can leave their job if they want, have birth papers and do not know of any domestic workers. Both, like the previous boy to be interviewed, give their money to their mother. They occasionally make sometimes 50 up to 200 pesos on a good day. When asked what they would like to do when they are older, the thirteen year-old said that he wants to be a boxer, and the eleven year-old wants to be a gardener.
Posted by: dominicanoutreach | October 16, 2009
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