Dominican Republic asked to put child protection at centre of its tourism strategy

Published on : Friday, May 19, 2017

Dominican Republic asked to put child protectionA United Nations independent expert has urged the Dominican Republic government to put child protection at the centre of its tourism strategy.

 

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, at the end of her first official visit to the Dominican Republic, urged the Government to “send a strong signal that the target of 10 millions of tourists by 2022 is not reached at the expense of exposing further children to the scourge of sexual exploitation.”

 

During her eight-day mission, the Special Rapporteur visited child care institutions, and met with children in vulnerable situations who have fallen victims to sexual exploitation such as girl vendors on beach locations.

 

She noted that blame for rape and other sexual exploitation is often put on the families and the exploited children “while perpetrators – often foreign male from Western countries whose crimes are facilitated by all sorts of intermediaries – walk around with a complete sense of impunity.”

 

The Special Rapporteur called on the Ministry of Tourism to incorporate prevention of this scourge in its plans, and to lead efforts already deployed by the private travel and tourism sector, together with local actors of affected communities, to implement the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.

 

She also called for better coordination between the police and the body in charge of tourist security (CESTUR) to improve detection and referral of cases for criminal investigation.

 

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

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