Dominican Republic Sanky Panky
A “sankie?” - what’s that? I am a woman who just got back from a week of sun and sand in the Dominican Republic, stayed on a beautiful resort, was treated like a queen and to top it all off, I met the most terrific Dominican guy. Now I am back home in my native country and I miss the Dominican Republic (and the guy I met) SO much that I just can’t keep myself away from my computer. I spend hours surfing around Dominican Republic related sites wishing I was back there.
But, what is this word “sankie” I keep seeing everywhere? Everywhere I read, people warn of young Dominican men who take advantage of female tourists. They tell tales of encounters with sexy, dark-skinned guys which lead to fun filled days and steamy romantic nights, only to end in disaster. They tell tales of lies, deception and thievery. Some of these women are financially and emotionally ruined after relationships with these “sankies”. I sit back in amazement. I can’t believe these women could be so foolish. Thank God the Dominican guy I met is different. I mean, he is so sincere. He is nothing like the men these girls described.
As I sit back dreaming of my new Dominican love, I receive an e-mail. It’s Him! I am so impressed to see that he is trying to type in English for me! The e-mail reads, “ Halo biruful. I miss yu. I hop yu can come back to see me agan soon…” As I read on, suddenly something doesn’t seem right. This e-mail sounds exactly like the others I read from the girls who claimed to have been taken advantage of by these “sankies”. My heart suddenly begins to sink. Could it be that I have been sankified???
The above paragraph is a typical example of what a growing number of female tourists who travel to the Dominican Republic report are their experiences with “sankies”. Sankies essentially are Dominican con men who prey on unsuspecting female tourists. They are what are commonly referred to in the Unites States as “gigolos”. They almost always come from poverty, have little or no education and are frequently illiterate. This does not mean that they are not intelligent, however. What they do is prey on human nature/weakness.
The vast majority of these sankie encounters occur on the all-inclusive resorts that scatter the coasts. This is neither to say that all of the men who work at these resorts are sankies nor that sankies do not exist and operate outside these resorts, however, since these resorts are where many North American and European women come to spend their vacations, it is only natural that the sankies find there way there. They work on the hotel staff, generally on animation teams, as bartenders or as waiters. The salaries they earn are typically low Dominican salaries for uneducated, unskilled workers but the reasons they take these jobs are not for the salaries, but for the opportunity to interact with female tourists who they can potentially scam for much more money.
So, how exactly do these sankies manage to scam so many women? Well, firstly, as stated before, they take advantage of human nature/weakness. They realize that most of these women, being on vacation, are there for enjoyment and probably are more adventurous than they would normally be. They are aware of the fact that with no man accompanying them, these women might be looking to have a little “fling” while on vacation. They might be looking for a little “sankie panky”. What the sankies then do is approach each woman tactfully. They use what sales people call "qualifying the buyer" questions to pinpoint what your "needs” are. The unsuspecting tourist thinks it's so sweet that this man cares so much about her life and what she thinks.
They also ask specific questions and let the tourist do all the talking while they “mirror" her answers, meaning they repeat her values and what she thinks of life so it seems as if they have similar interests and therefore must be soul mates. Then when the woman appears interested in or at least intrigued by her new man, he will ask her on a “date”.
Now, the “sankie panky” begins.
Sankie panky business usually entail a night out drinking and dancing where the sankie can exhibit his exceptional dancing skills. This will be followed by more nights of the same depending on the length of the woman’s vacation. Of course, at some point, the “sankie” becomes intimate with the woman. Depending upon the woman, he picks the proper time to initiate this so that the act will have the most emotional impact.
Different sankie panky approaches
By this time, the sankie generally has formulated a detailed plan of attack on how he will extort as much money as possible from his new victim. A sankie may determine that a woman does not qualify as a good victim because she lacks the naiveté required. In these cases, the sankie will generally allow the woman to pay for everything during their dates. He will then repay her with sexual favors. The sankie recognizes that these women are just on vacation to have a good time and seeing that he gets free nights out drinking and dancing, he is more than happy to oblige the woman in whatever she is seeking (sankie panky). However these are not the real victims that the sankie is seeking out.
What the sankie is really looking for is the woman whom he knows will get emotionally attached to him. With these women, the sankie insists on paying for their nights out, thereby building their trust. Of course, the money he is spending is being supplied by other victims whose trust has already been built and who have advanced from the “romancing” stage to the “girlfriend” stage.
The girls in the girlfriend stage have already returned to their native countries and have not only developed feelings for the man they met and left behind, they have also frequently fallen madly in love with him. The sankie has been able to form a bond with them, build their trust, shower them with romance, and give them hopes of returning to a life of romance and love together with him in a tropical paradise. Shortly after their return home, the sankie will initiate contact with the victim by phone and/or email displaying his sincerity. This is when the extortion tricks usually begin.
Many sankies use the same stories to extort money from their victims with the most common claim being that his mother is sick and he needs money for her hospital bills. At this point, the woman actually thinks she is in a real lasting relationship and feels obligated to help. She can’t tell her new boyfriend that she won’t help his mother, so she wires him as much money as he claims he needs. Some other common stories are that the sankie himself is hurt and cannot work or that his friend or another member of his family is hurt and needs money for hospital bills. The sankie always promises to pay this money back and during the same conversation, reassures the woman that he loves her and that they have a future together.
Some sankies use different methods to extort the money. Some will use tricks such as e-mailing victims and telling them that they wish they could hear their voice but cannot afford a phone. This generally leads to the victim rushing to western union to wire money to her man so he can buy a phone and a calling plan to call her. Then of course the phone breaks or there is some subsequent story why he needs more money. They will continue to use ploys such as this to get money until such time as the girl gets fed up and stops falling for them, if indeed that time comes. Of course, the money received is used for personal enjoyment and to gain the trust of new victims.
Some sankies, on the other hand, have a completely different angle/agenda. They are just looking for a foreigner to fall in love with them so they will be able to get a visa out of the country. Then once out of the country, of course, the romance quickly ends with the sankie proceeding with his new life and the woman left devastated both emotionally and sometimes financially as well.
Sankie support network
Naturally, with so much to do, a sankie sometimes needs help. Since he frequently cannot even write in Spanish, let alone English, the sankie needs someone to type e-mails for him. For this he will usually employ a friend, possibly someone who works at an internet café to type and send his e-mails for him. For this, she will receive a cut of the Western Union wire that he receives as a result. Frequently, a sankie will save scripted letters that he just copies and pastes with his “helper” inserting the appropriate name for him. Also, he will have several buddies who usually all operate separately as sankies themselves, who he can rely upon to assist him in his landing of a new victim. While the sankie is with his victim, one of these “support sankies” might come and tell him that there is some emergency. The sankie will then rush off and return to tell his victim the bad news of how he has this sudden dilemma. Of course, it will require money to fix.
Also, the sankie’s boss at the resort might be a sankie himself. He might then decide to conveniently fire the sankie on the last day of the woman’s vacation, only to rehire him as soon as she gets on the plane. She will then go home deeply in love with her new man but concerned about his financial welfare. In order to help him out until he can get a new job, several trips to Western Union will follow.
Additionally, a sankie will frequently introduce a victim to his family. His mother, sisters, brothers and whoever else will also be a part of his support network. They will act genuinely pleased to meet her and leave the victim with the impression that she is the only girl in the sankie’s life. Of course, it is all an act. A new girl is brought home every week and the family gets to enjoy some of the money the sankie is getting from all of his victims. The sankies are professionals and once in a sankies grip, a starry eyed, naive female tourist doesn’t stand a chance.
Of course, with so many “girlfriends” to keep track of, he sometimes runs into complications. It could happen that two or more of his girlfriends come back to visit at once. This can be a major problem. In this case, it is best for him to sever his ties with whichever one he considerers less profitable. For her, there will be no more sanky panky. But that’s not too bad of a loss for him; after all, there will be another plane of potential victims landing soon. Also, sometimes, a “girlfriend” decides she can’t stand to be away and decides to move down to be closer to her man. For the sankie, this is not good. He needs to immediately turn the woman off so that she returns home. After all, one woman around him for too long will cramp his style and be bad for business.
So, ladies: on your visit to the Dominican Republic you need to be on guard. Enjoy the beaches, the mountains, and the rivers. Enjoy the food, the atmosphere and the people. Experience all the wonderful things that the Dominican Republic has to offer but please... beware of the sankie.