Is Carnival Cruise Lines Pushing Sex Tourism Out of the DR? Meet Cubadave, Who Says Yes

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Courtesy of David Strecker
Cubadave on his most recent trip to Sosua. His electronics were later confiscated by U.S. Customs officials.
David Strecker was returning from a vacation in the Dominican Republic this past October 30 when U.S. Customs officials at Miami International Airport told him to line up with six other people and hand over his electronics. The Key West resident dutifully surrendered a laptop computer, two cell phones, and two digital cameras. Then the 62-year-old sighed. This would be a problem.

Cubadave, as he is better known, is the man behind an eponymous blog promoting sex tourism in Sosua, a town on the northern coast of the DR. He has thousands of acolytes who worship him online for his stories about prostitutes -- and for his pictures.

Dave claims to have slept with thousands of Caribbean sex workers. Today, his goal is to help other -- often older -- men do the same so that they can reclaim their youth and that the impoverished women of the DR can supplement low incomes, he says.

Since at least the early 2000s, the Dominican Republic has been a hot spot for sex tourism -- thanks in part to Strecker's blog posts and ebook. But as the opening date for a $65 million Carnival cruise center looms, officials from the Ministry of Tourism have scrambled to eradicate sex on the beach.

The Amber Cove Cruise Center will open in 2014. This past July, Peter Jensen, a German expat who ran a Sosua club called Passions, was thrown in jail and charged with trafficking 32 women. (Sosua is less than 15 miles from Puerto Plata, where the cruise center is located.)

"Prostitution is not considered a crime in the Dominican Republic, but a third party makes you a pimp," Strecker explains. "That's what Peter was charged with."

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