Three of the people are minors and are part of the dance troupe, Dollarboyz.
Tyree Dumas is the CEO of the West Philadelphia Company. He is also awaiting trial in Philadelphia on pedophilia charges.
In an exclusive interview, Dumas told Action News he visited the Dominican Republic last month.
Four members of the Dollarboyz group – ages 12, 14, 15 and 18 – also descended on the Dominican Republic. So is videographer Anthony Williams.
The Dollarboyz CEO said they were there to shoot rap videos and a reality show for the group’s brand, which claims on its website to be the hottest and most popular dance group in Philadelphia.
Dumas and Williams both claim to be innocent.
“Their parents were already aware,” said Dumas, “that they allowed their children to be part of the production. And none of their children were harmed in any way.”
“I didn’t know what was going on or anything, they didn’t read our rights to us,” Williams added.
The two men are imprisoned.
Williams said prison conditions were horrendous.
“No beds, no flush toilets – it’s just a sewer hole in the wall,” he said. “You only get food if your family brings food. I don’t have any family here so I barely eat.”
Anthony Williams’ mother Darlene Jackson has said she fears for her son’s life.
Jackson said his son thought it would be a great opportunity to film a rap performance.
She worked hard to get him home, sending $ 3,000 to a Dominican lawyer she believes.
“Basically he said, ‘Ma’am, your son was basically in the wrong place at the wrong time with someone who has really bad accusations,” she said.
This is because in 2017, authorities arrested Dumas and accused him of assaulting three boys. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
“I have never been convicted of any crime against children in my life,” Dumas said.
Action News’ attempts to contact Dominican authorities in Puerto Plata were unsuccessful.
According to media reports, after the minors acted suspiciously, “the hotel has alerted authorities as it is part of a national tourism effort to prevent child abuse.”
Reports allege that Dumas ordered the miners not to speak to the police, which he denies.
The children said they were not injured.
Action News attempted to reach the children’s parents, but was unsuccessful. The children all remain in child protection services in the Dominican Republic.
“At the end of the day, I’ve been taking care of people’s children, quite frankly, since I was a kid,” Dumas said. “So a lot of these kids look up to me.”
A State Department official told Action News: “We are aware of the arrest of two US citizens charged with human trafficking and crimes against minors. We are taking our responsibility to help US citizens overseas and monitoring the situation.
Jackson fears the investigation will drag on in the Dominican Republic.
“So he could be there for a year or two, from what I hear, just over the fact that they accumulate evidence and go to trial,” she said.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and local lawyer for Dumas were unaware he had been detained overseas until we contacted. They tell us that they too are collecting information.
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