In a joint operation between the Ministry of Tourism and the Attorney General (Fiscal), authorities in the beach town of Sosúa closed 16 massage parlors. Commonly known as “Jack Shacks”, the small massage parlors are thinly veiled fronts for prostitution where mostly Haitian women service local men and foreign visitors for cut rate prices.
According to the new report, the centers lacked permits that the judicial authorities believe should be necessary for such establishments. Centers will not be allowed to reopen unless they can secure permits from both the Ministries of Tourism and Health. Such approvals will require facilities with better privacy and evidence of certification on the part of the massage therapists.
In the past, these small centers were allowed to flourish in Sosúa after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti brought waves of immigrants into the neighboring Dominican Republic. Municipal authorities in Sosúa granted special permits for massage centers, which many of the girls used to apply for work permits and remain legally in the Dominican Republic. Apparently, national authorities no longer approve of this arrangement and are asserting their authority in Sosúa.
Closures are likely to have no real effect on sex tourism in Sosúa. Many of the jack shacks have never been that popular, and their only real attraction is they open earlier than the many night clubs and bars that are loaded with girls. The best talent are the Dominican girls who come in large numbers from all over the island to court foreign visitors.