Dominican Republic: Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Haitian Children Rampant
Monday, November 8, 2010 9:45 AM

Since last January's earthquake, more than 7,300 minors have been smuggled out of Haiti to the Dominican Republic by traffickers exploiting the poverty and hunger within Haitian communities. For the year 2009, 950 boys and girls were trafficked into the Dominican Republic, according to one human rights group that monitors 10 border points.

According to media reports, several smugglers openly admit to the trafficking and claim that officials in both countries collude in the process. Border guards charged with preventing trafficking have been noted to be unresponsive to the issue. Despite the scale of the issue as observed by human rights advocates and journalists, there have been only two convictions since 2006, according to Dominican records.


Part of the difficulty in stopping illegal trafficking is that the earthquake also caused a mass exodus, so that it can be complicated to differentiate between smugglers and guardians crossing the border with children.


Most of the children end up begging, in prostitution, or selling small items, only to have any profits pocketed by the adults that run such operations.


The governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic have both signed treaties and laws to fight child trafficking. However, a U.S. State Department report this year concluded that the Dominican Republic ``does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so.''


Compiled from: Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation of Haitian Children in the Dominican Republic on the Rise, Interagency Gender Working Group, (8 November 2010).