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Launch of the ECPAT Country Overview: Dominican Republic Report

Posted on Sep 27, 2022


ECPAT International is proud to announce the release of a new ECPAT Country Overview.

Children in Dominican Republic face greater vulnerability to sexual exploitation, resulting from failures in access to education and the normalisation of violence against women and girls.

PRESS RELEASE: 27 September 2022


DOMINICAN REPUBLICIn cooperation with MAIS and the Down to Zero Alliance, ECPAT International is pleased to announce the launch of the Dominican Republic Country Overview. The report sheds light on the scale, scope, and context of the sexual exploitation of children, and suggests concrete actions to put an end to this crime in the country. The report findings will be presented to the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children in preparation for her next official visit to the country.

Key findings and recommendations for action discussed in the report include:

  • Dominican Republic must develop binding criteria for companies in the travel and tourism sector that include measures that protect children from sexual exploitation. Dominican Republic is one of the main tourist destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean, with more than six million tourists visiting the country each year. At least two studies on human trafficking have reported cases of sexual exploitation of children in various tourist destinations such as Puerto Plata, Higüey, La Romana, and Boca Chica.
  • Dominican Republic must establish extraterritorial jurisdiction regarding crimes related to the sexual exploitation of children. Currently, Dominican criminal law cannot be applied to most crimes of child sexual exploitation committed abroad by a Dominican citizen (active extraterritoriality) or to crimes committed by foreigners abroad against a Dominican child (passive extraterritoriality). These jurisdictional gaps could result in impunity for offenders in cases of sexual exploitation of children with a transnational element. 
  • Dominican Republic must enact a new national plan of action against the sexual exploitation of children, as a crime distinct from sexual abuse, and include measures to deal with all its manifestations. Dominican Republic has not produced or implemented a national action plan specifically dedicated to the sexual exploitation of children since 2006. Furthermore, most of the plans that contain objectives related to sexual exploitation have expired and no new plans have been adopted to replace them by August 2022.
  • Dominican Republic must adopt measures to effectively recognise and guarantee access to education and other services for all migrant children, particularly those of Haitian descent in the country, in order to reduce the factors that increase the risk of suffering sexual exploitation, such as social exclusion and precarious living conditions.
  • Dominican Republic must ensure effective access to compensation for children who are victims of sexual exploitation. Data showed that the majority (78%) of the 130 sentences of sexual crimes analysed in a specific study, 83% of which were cases of child sexual abuse, did not result in any type of compensation.


Read the full report in Spanish here.
Read a summary of the findings in English here.
Read our recommendations for effective extraterritorial jurisdiction and extradition legislation here.

For more information, please contact: 


About ECPAT Country Overviews: 

ECPAT Country Overviews comprehensively present all existing research and publicly available data on the sexual exploitation of children in a given country. These also include a detailed analysis of the legal framework and existing policies applied to address such crimes. These reports provide an evaluation of the achievements and challenges achieved thanks to the implementation, the existing neutraliasation actions and, in turn, they suggest concrete priority actions to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children in the country.

About ECPAT International:

ECPAT International is a global network of more than 122 civil society organisations, in more than 100 countries, working towards the vision of ending the sexual exploitation of children. With over 30 years of experience in engaging and managing multi-stakeholder processes and partnerships at the national, regional and global levels, ECPAT works to end the sexual exploitation of children.

About MAIS:

MAIS has been an NGO member of the ECPAT network since 1998, assuming the mandate, content and recommendations of the ECPAT 1996 Agenda for Action. It has dedicated all of its work to the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in the northern part of Dominican Republic by Dominicans and the prevention of the use of children in sexual activities in travel and tourism. In the last 7 years, MAIS has been part of the Down to Zero Alliance, which is made up of a group of support institutions for the execution of Down to Zero in 12 countries from different regions of the world. For intervention in the tourism industry, MAIS is a representative in Dominican Republic and the Caribbean area of The Code (The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism).

About the Down to Zero Alliance:

The Down to Zero Alliance includes Terre des Hommes Netherlands, Defence for Children-ECPAT and ECPAT International, Free a Girl, ICCO (part of Cordaid) and Plan International Netherlands.