U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Dominican Republic
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Dominican Republic, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d83ec.html [accessed 19 September 2014]|
Dominican Republic (Tier 2 Watch List)
The Dominican Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Dominican women and children are trafficked to destinations in Latin America and Europe, including Spain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece, the Netherlands Antilles, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Brazil. There are indications that Peruvian women have been trafficked through the Dominican Republic to Italy. Additionally, Haitians are trafficked into the Dominican Republic for forced labor and sexual exploitation. There are reports of an estimated 2,000 Haitian children trafficked into the Dominican Republic annually to work on the street (such as shoe shining), to work in agriculture, or to be exploited in the sex trade. The ILO estimates that 48,000 children are engaged in child labor nationwide.
The Government of the Dominican Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, is making significant efforts to do so. The Dominican Republic is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to address trafficking over the past year. Trafficking-related law enforcement efforts generally remained weak, though the current government made modest efforts to combat trafficking in some areas, including the successful prosecution of a high-level official complicit in trafficking-related offenses. The government, which took office last year, has newly appointed individuals in place to combat trafficking and has pledged to do more.
The Dominican Republic's anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts remained limited during the reporting period. Existing anti-trafficking units remain poorly deployed and coordination between agencies is ineffective. The government has not provided comprehensive anti-trafficking law enforcement data, but did report that only two new trafficking arrests were made over the last year. The government was finally able to convict and sentence to 18 months in prison Congressman Guillermo Radhames Ramos Garcia on charges of alien smuggling and trafficking-related offenses while a consul in Haiti, following a two-year legal battle. The Attorney General and other prosecutors have also made strong public statements about the need to prosecute and investigate trafficking cases, but this has yet to translate into a substantial number of active cases. A few commercial establishments involved in sexually exploiting children have been closed. Efforts to address trafficking-related corruption have improved modestly, as evidenced by the conviction of the Congressmen noted above. The government has yet to prosecute accused child trafficker Maria Martinez Nunez, who has been imprisoned awaiting trial since 2002. Official corruption still remains endemic and continues to impede anti-trafficking efforts. Law enforcement efforts are also hampered by a lack of resources, personnel, and trafficking awareness. Potential trafficking cases are rarely fully prosecuted or brought to conclusion.
The Dominican Government's efforts to protect victims of trafficking remained inadequate over the last year, hampered by a lack of resources. There are no shelters in the country specifically aimed to assist trafficking victims. Limited services are available to trafficking victims through NGOs. The government has made efforts to work with these NGOs to refer and assist trafficking victims, but efforts are uneven and should be increased. In general, the government lacks a comprehensive victim protection policy, which also affects the government's ability to identify traffickers. Control of the Haitian border remains weak, and the government continues to deny birth certificates to Haitians born in the Dominican Republic, which leaves them more vulnerable to traffickers and also leaves them without access to certain services in the Dominican Republic. The process for the identification and responsible repatriation of Haitian trafficking victims living illegally in the Dominican Republic needs to be improved.
The government recognizes that trafficking is a problem, but has failed to implement sustainable prevention campaigns, in part because of its resource constraints. There have been campaigns in the country warning about the dangers of trafficking and the government has increased efforts to train officials on trafficking-related matters. There have been several public awareness campaigns, including several town-hall meetings in Boca Chica, a known site of child trafficking. High government officials continue to speak out about the dangers of trafficking and have committed to do more.