[Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Tier 2 Watch List)Extracted in part  from the U.S. State Dept 2023 TIP Report

The Government of the Dominican Republic does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.  These efforts included convicting more traffickers, investigating two police officers for trafficking crimes, and increasing international law enforcement cooperation.  The government also identified more victims and implemented new protections for vulnerable domestic workers.  However, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity.  The government systematically and persistently failed to equitably screen vulnerable migrant or undocumented populations and refer identified victims to services and did not provide these groups justice in trafficking crimes.  The government investigated and prosecuted fewer traffickers, did not adequately investigate labor trafficking cases involving migrants and children, and did not adequately identify labor trafficking victims.  The government also did not adopt draft amendments to the anti-trafficking law that would remove the requirement to prove force, fraud, or coercion in sex trafficking cases involving child victims; did not adequately fund anti-trafficking efforts; did not provide sufficient training, resources, and technology to officials, especially outside of the capital; and did not complete a new NAP.  Therefore the Dominican Republic was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.

Prioritized Recommendations

Proactively and consistently screen vulnerable migrant or undocumented populations, including those in agricultural and construction industries, for trafficking indicators and refer them to care.

Amend the 2003 anti-trafficking law to remove the requirement to prove force, fraud, and coercion in sex trafficking crimes involving victims younger than the age of 18, consistent with international law.

Develop, implement, and fund a new NAP and ensure the Inter-institutional Commission against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (CITIM) meets regularly to carry out its anti-trafficking functions.

Improve timeliness and accuracy of labor inspections and ensure consistent investigation of labor trafficking.

Issue or re-issue identity documents to eligible migrant populations, including temporary workers, to reduce vulnerability to trafficking.

Fully implement Law 169-14 to issue nationality documents to eligible Dominicans of Haitian descent, to reduce vulnerability to trafficking.

Increase the number of translators, especially in Haitian Creole, to assist in victim identification and referral to care and labor inspections.

Vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes and seek appropriate penalties for convicted traffickers, including complicit officials, which should involve significant prison terms.

Ensure potential child trafficking victims, including those involved in gangs and drug trafficking, are screened, identified, and referred to care and are not inappropriately penalized solely for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

Expand consistent access to care and ensure capacity to address the specific and unique needs of both male and female victims.

Provide adequate human and financial resources and training to law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges to combat trafficking, particularly in areas outside of Santo Domingo, and ensure the National Police can routinely connect with counterparts in other source or destination countries